Governance and human rights Achievements and challenges
All elections since 2010 have been internationally recognised. A basis was put in place, with support from Germany among others, for holding the first local elections since 1987. The elections were postponed several times but finally took place in June 2019. Progress has also been made on decentralisation since 2012.
According to its constitution, Togo is a multi-party democracy with separation of powers. However, key decision-making powers lie with the president. Parliamentary and judicial controls are as yet inadequate. The administration of justice is strongly influenced by politics. Moreover, many conflicts are resolved by traditional authorities based on customary law, which contributes to uncertainty about prevailing law.
Corruption and nepotism are widespread. In the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (External link) compiled by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, Togo ranks 134th out of the 180 countries evaluated. While a legal basis for fighting corruption has been put in place, government authorities are currently unable, due to a lack of both human and financial resources, to enforce compliance with these laws.
Overall, the human rights situation has improved significantly since the end of the dictatorship in 2005. However, according to recent reviews, Togo's record on fundamental and civil rights has not been good. For example, there were several instances in 2020 in which the government restricted the freedom of the media, and there were arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders. Human rights organisations have also reported harsh prison conditions and isolated cases of alleged torture, and they criticise the excessive use of force by security forces at rallies and in the effort to enforce measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (Commission Vérité, Justice et Réconciliation) has been set up to investigate human rights violations during the period of 1958 to 2005. In 2012, the Commission presented its final report, putting forward comprehensive recommendations on how Togo can come to terms with its violent past. However, only few measures have been launched so far.
Due to a very long period of restrictions under Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the first civil society organisations were not formed until the early 1990s. Today, Togo has numerous initiatives, associations and non-governmental organisations that work on a large number of different issues and are largely free in their activities.