The 1992 Constitution of Togo establishes the nation's Fourth Republic. According to Article 13:
The state is obligated to guarantee the physical and mental integrity, life, and security of every person living on the national territory. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of his/her freedom or life.
Under Article 30, the State recognizes and guarantees within the conditions established by the law, the exercise of the freedoms of assembly and of peaceful demonstration without instruments of violence.
In accordance with Article 49, the security forces and the police, under the authority of the government, are mandated to protect the free exercise of rights and freedoms and to
guarantee the security of citizens and their property.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints
|CAT Optional Protocol 1
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
|1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions
|Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights
Police Use of Force
Law enforcement in Togo is conducted by the national police force and the paramilitary gendarmerie.
A 2013 decree on the maintenance and re-establishment of public order governs police use of force with respect to public assemblies. It allows the use of firearms or bladed weapons if other less-lethal weapons have proven ineffective and the police have been "exceptionally calm and patient".Art. 31, Decret N° 2013-013/PR du 0603 2013 portant réglementation du maintien et du rétablissement de l'ordre public.This does not comply with international law, which only allows firearms to be used by law enforcement officials where necessary and when either an imminent threat to life or of serious injury exists, or in the event of a grave and impending threat to life. Bladed weapons should never be used against persons by law enforcement officials.
There is no independent, civilian police oversight body in Togo, although there is the potential for judicial oversight. In its 2017 Human Rights Report on Togo, the United States stated that the civilian authorities "at times did not maintain effective control over the security forces".
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its Concluding Observations on Togo in 2019, the Committee against Torture expressed its particular concern
about allegations of torture and ill-treatment in the central criminal investigation and investigation service, including those arrested as a result of their participation in demonstrations or their support for the opposition's demands.
The Committee noted recent efforts by the authorities to observe public demonstrations and ensure their smooth running, but deplored
the use by law enforcement to excessive and disproportionate use of force in peaceful public demonstrations, despite the legislative framework surrounding the exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration.
The Committee noted with concern
that on 28 February 2018, the police fired live ammunition to disperse demonstrators who had spontaneously gathered in Lomé to denounce the rise in the price of petroleum products, causing the one person died and several were injured. While welcoming the investigations opened in connection with the 2017 protests, the Committee urge[d] the State party to speed up the course and communicate the results.
In April-May 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a resolution on the human rights situation in Togo in which it strongly condemned
all human rights violations that have been committed and urges the Togolese Government to put an end to them, in particular arrest, torture, arbitrary detention and other violations.
The resolution also called for
impartial and independent investigations in order to identify the presumed perpetrators of these violations and ensure that they are prosecuted in accordance with the law.Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Togo - ACHPR/Res. 397 (LXII) 2018, paras. 1 and 2.