Democracy and rights
Togo is not to be regarded as a free country.
The opposition is held down by the great dominance of
the ruling party Unir in society. The electoral system
is considered designed to benefit the ruling party.
Freedom of the press and opinion is limited. It can be
downright dangerous to criticize the regime in public.
There are many opposition parties in Togo but their
ability to make themselves heard and gain influence is
limited by Unir. The same family has held the
presidential post since 1960.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Togo, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
The constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but
before the 2018 parliamentary elections, major
regime-critical demonstrations were beaten down by
police force. Demonstration bans were introduced with
reference to the fact that the protests constituted a
security risk (see Current policy). According to Amnesty
International, eleven people were killed in connection
with the demonstrations and many were arrested. However,
election observers from Ecowas described the election as
essentially free and fair.
In August 2019, the demonstration right was further
restricted. Among other things, it was forbidden to
demonstrate at the main roads and central places in the
cities as well as near government buildings. Protests
may only be conducted during the day, between 11am and
6pm. The number of permitted demonstrations in one city
was also limited.
According to Freedom House, Togolese can generally
express regime criticism in private contexts but run the
risk of being accused of other crimes if they express
their criticism publicly or talk to journalists.
Since 2016, international organizations must have
permission from the state to operate in the country. In
2017, an organization that works for the rights of LGBTQ
people was denied employment in the country when their
work was considered to be contrary to Togo's norms and
Togo's largest ethnic group, éwé, is associated with
the opposition and is excluded from political influence.
Women and men are formally equal before the law, but
in practice women do not have the same opportunities in
education and in the labor market. Women are
under-represented in political contexts and are also not
encouraged to engage politically.
Corruption is widespread. In 2017, the authorities
set up a special unit to combat corruption, but most of
its officials are linked to the regime. In 2019, Togo
ranked 130th among 180 countries in the Transparency
International Index of Corruption in the World (see full
list here). It was a position worse than the year
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press and opinion are enshrined in the
constitution, but are not always respected by the
regime. The control of the mass media has traditionally
been great, leading to self-censorship among
journalists, especially in connection with elections.
Violence or threats against journalists are rarely
investigated by the police. A special authority has the
right to prosecute journalists who it considers violate
the press ethical rules, threaten the country's security
or disseminate "false" information.
In recent years, the media situation has improved
somewhat. Several charges against journalists have been
dropped, while increased revenues have given the media
greater leeway. Reporters Without Borders ranked Togo in
number 71 in 180 countries in its press freedom index
(see full list here). This means an improvement of 15
investments over two years.
Togo has a public policy principle that guarantees
citizens the right to public documents, but it is not
always complied with.
The regime has occasionally blocked access to the
internet in connection with demonstrations.
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary is structured according to the French
model, but there are also elements of traditional rules
in the country's various ethnic groups. The regime has
traditionally exercised considerable influence over the
The conditions in the overcrowded prisons are
difficult and the waiting times for the trial are very
long. The death penalty was abolished in 2009.
Transitional Government Agreement
During the mediation of Burkina Faso, President Gnassingbé and the opposition
decide to form a transitional government until proper and fair parliamentary
elections are held.