Article 13(1) of the 1991 Constitution of Equatorial Guinea (as amended) guarantees enjoyment by "every citizen" of rights and freedoms, including:
a. The respect of his person, life, personal integrity, its dignity and his full material and moral development. ...
k. To freedom of association, assembly and manifestation.
Article 129 stipulates that the State Security Forces are responsible for public order and the normal functioning of public powers.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Not party|
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court||Signatory|
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions||N/A|
|Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights||Not party|
Police Use of Force
There is a paramilitary police and a gendarmerie in Equatorial Guinea. National legislation governing police use of force was contained in a 2015 law on maintaining public order. The law was revised in 2019 to authorise the security forces to use firearms in a range of situations including to "defend their positions". Under international law, police use of firearms is restricted to where it is necessary to confront an imminent threat of death or serious injury or a grave and proximate threat to life.
In July 2018, Human Rights Watch stated that there was "credible evidence that Guinea’s security forces used excessive lethal force and engaged in other unprofessional conduct during violent street protests in February and March 2018. No member of the police or gendarmes has been arrested or charged." In an interview with Human Rights Watch, General Ibrahima Baldé, the commander of the gendarmerie and head of the election security force, said that all security force members under his control are strictly forbidden from carrying or using firearms when responding to demonstrations and denied that any officers carry them. “If I saw a gendarme with a firearm, I would intervene immediately,” he said. A senior official at the Security and Civilian Protection Ministry, which oversees the police, said that police were only permitted to wear riot equipment when policing demonstrations or strikes and do not carry firearms. He said, however, that security forces did not have adequate anti-riot equipment and urged Guinea’s partners to provide funds to assist the police and gendarmes to obtain the necessary material.
Article 126 of the Constitution determines that the functions of the Defender of the People (Defensor del Pueblo) are:
To verify and mediate any irregular conduct in the relations between the public or private administration and the citizens.
This could include allegations of excessive police use of force.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2019 concluding observations on Equatorial Guinea, the Human Rights Committee expresed its concerned that the government had "not provided information on any specific provisions regarding the appropriate use of force and firearms by law enforcement personnel and security forces". It was also concerned "by reports of excessive use of force and firearms by law enforcement personnel, who allegedly kill and injure individuals who fail to stop at military checkpoints".
The Committee called on the government to adopt "appropriate laws and policies to control the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials, based on the Committee’s general comment No. 36 and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials".
In 2010, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture concluded that torture was systematically used by the police, in particular at the central police stations in Bata and Malabo.
In 2014, in its submission for the Universal Periodic Review of Equatorial Guinea under the Human Rights Council, Amnesty International asserted that police and soldiers continue to enjoy almost total impunity for unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions.
Equatorial Guinea has not ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, allowing the African Court to hear cases alleging a violation of the Charter by the state.