Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1990

Since seizing power in a military coup in 1967, President
Gnassingbe Eyadema has melded Togo into a single-party,
authoritarian state. The President dominates all branches and
functions of government, serving as Head of State, Chief of
Staff of the armed forces, and head of the only political
party, the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT) . The
Government considers all Togolese members of the RPT, and all
citizens are obliged to vote. Only active party members can
obtain high government posts . The Eyadema Government rules by
decree and bases its legal authority on the 1979 Constitution,
which was formally adopted by referendum. This Constitution
established a National Assembly whose primary role is to adopt
all governmental decrees sent to it. One-candidate
presidential elections held every 7 years have reconfirmed
President Eyadema ' s rule.
The Government's authority is reinforced through control of
the state security apparatus: the armed forces, the National
Police (Surete), and the Special Police (Gendarmerie). All of
these forces have domestic security responsibilities.
Togo ranks as a least developed country with an annual per
capita gross domestic product of under $400. Approximately 80
percent of its 3.4 million people are engaged in agriculture.
With the aid of structural adjustment programs supported by
the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Togo in recent
years has achieved moderate economic growth with low inflation.
Human rights in Togo continued to be tightly circumscribed in
1990. However, popular dissatisfaction with the Government
became more apparent, with increasing calls for a multiparty
system, democracy, and freedom of expression. In the face of
growing public pressures and demonstrations for change, the
Government vacillated on specific issues. Initially, it
denied that 4 of 13 students arrested in August and held for
distributing antigovernment pamphlets had been tortured.
However, in October the Government dismissed the head of the
Surete (by transfer) for his participation in torture of 4 of
them, and the President pardoned 11 of the 13 students. The
remaining two students were tried, convicted, sentenced to 5
years, and then pardoned by President Eyadema. The Government
stopped publication of one issue of an independent newspaper
and retained censorship procedures but subsequently issued a
statement endorsing freedom of the press.
The Government established a 109-member committee to draft a
new constitution, with an overwhelming number drawn from the
Government, RPT leadership, and the military. While holding
out the promise of a new constitution, it failed to set a
meaningful timetable for implementation. In the changing
atmosphere, the government-organized Togolese Human Rights
Commission was able to assume a more prominent role in
addressing human rights abuses. Four new human rights groups
were organized in 1990, providing independent monitoring of
issues such as torture, freedom of press, and freedom of
expression. Major human rights abuses in 1990 remained
torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees, arbitrary
detentions; lack of fair trial procedures in security cases;
restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly and the
right of citizens to change their government; and
discrimination against women.
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
      a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial
killings in 1990.
      b. Disappearance
There were unconfirmed reports of the disappearance of
Dindiogue Nayone, a university student who criticized the
Government during a May student association meeting. He was
released from detention but not seen again. Uncorroborated
press reports claimed he was living in exile in Chad. There
were no reports as in past years of abductions of persons from
neighboring countries.
      c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
There is no Togolese law against torture; however, Togo is a
signatory to the International Convention against Torture.
Beatings of those arrested for criminal and political offenses
are common. While the number of incidents appeared to be
fewer in 1990 than previously, torture of suspected opponents
of the Government remains a problem. The independent Human
Rights League verified the torture by beating and electric
shock of 4 of the 13 persons arrested in August for
distributing antigovernment tracts and made a report to the
Togolese Human Rights Commission. An independent newspaper
published interviews with three of those concerned. The
Commission subsequently issued a public report confirming the
torture and recommending the victims be compensated and the
electric shock equipment destroyed. Action on these
recommendations was still pending at the end of 1990.
However, the head of the Surete, Captain Pitalouna Laokpessi,
was dismissed and returned to his former position as airport
security chief as a result of his role in the affair.
The former chief of military procurement. Col. Seyi Memem, was
convicted in a secret military proceeding on charges of
embezzlement. There were numerous reports that he was
tortured during his long pretrial imprisonment. Although
abusive security officials may be arbitrarily punished by
removal, loss of pay, or reprimand, no formal procedures for
such cases exist, and punishment of officials for human rights
abuses is rare.
Prison conditions remained very harsh in 1990 with seriously
inadequate food and medical care. Apparently as a result of
the Amnesty International (AI) 1989 Report, the President
attempted to improve the prison conditions of the defendants
convicted in the December 1986 sedition trial. Conditions for
detainees held in rural areas or military facilities have not
      d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
Under Togolese law, persons arrested may be held incommunicado
without charge for 48 hours, with an additional 48-hour
extension if the case is deemed serious or complex. In
practice, most detentions conform to this provision. However,
persons accused of "political crimes," such as defaming the
President, can be arrested and detained without limit. Such
persons have been routinely charged as "administrative
detainees," a status which permits no recourse to normal legal
remedies. Prefects (governors) have de facto authority to
order detention at will. Security officers also have
unrestricted arrest and detention powers in cases involving
national security.
Owing more to a shortage of qualified judicial personnel than
intent to evade required judicial procedures, a substantial
number of nonpolitical prisoners are held for long periods of
time—in some cases 6 months or more—before being brought to
trial. Although they are not guaranteed the right to counsel
under law, detainees routinely retain counsel, if they can
afford it.
On October 5, the authorities detained approximately 170
persons, 92 of whom the Government described as foreigners,
for their part in public disorders that followed a mass
demonstration of over 5,000 persons. The demonstrators had
congregated to express support for the cause of 2 of the 13
students arrested in August, the only members of the 13 to
stand trial for distributing antigovernment pamphlets. Many
of the original persons arrested were released within 48
hours, but additional arrests were made. The remainder were
pardoned by President Eyadema on October 15, which was the
deadline for the Government to file charges for processing
them as normal criminal cases.
There was no precise figure for the small number of Togolese
believed to be in detention for political reasons at the end
on 1990. The investigations of the Human Rights Commission
rarely involve political detainees.
A number of opposition figures remained in exile, including
Gilchrist Olympio, Edem Kodjo, Merlaud Lawson, Richard Aboki,
Daniel Kouvei-Akoe, and Agbegnan Saloman. The Togolese Bar
Association, leading human rights activists, some editorials
in the independent press, and a council of opposition groups
in Paris have all called for a presidential amnesty to allow
Togolese to return from overseas.
      e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Fair public trial is not assured in political/security cases.
The regular judicial system employs both African traditional
law and the Napoleonic Code in trying criminal and civil
cases. In rural areas, the village chief or council of elders
can try minor criminal and civil cases. Those who reject the
traditional ruling can take their cases to the regular court
system, which is the starting point for cases in urban areas.
The Supreme Court stands at the apex of the modern court
system, but its decisions can be appealed to the President,
the final arbiter.
The judicial process begins with pretrial investigation by a
special judge who examines the adequacy of the evidence and
decides on bail. The number of judges is inadequate, but the
court system functions well for most routine cases. Trials
are open to the public, and judicial procedures are respected.
Defendants have the right to counsel, but only in potential
capital punishment cases will the Government provide counsel
to those unable to afford this service. Lower court decisions
may be appealed to two higher courts, then to the President.
Procedural safeguards for fair trial are lacking in
security/political cases. Special courts handle cases related
to public security (State Security Court), embezzlement of
public funds (Tribunal for Recovery of Public Funds), and
violent crimes (Court of Assizes) . The Security Court has not
convened in 4 years. Persons who embezzle large sums
generally remain in jail until the money is repaid.
Togo's judicial system is not independent of the executive.
The President can and does intervene in and determine the
outcome of cases of interest. In January President Eyadema
pardoned former Justice Minister Kpotivi Lacle only a few
hours after Lacle was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his
role in a fraud scheme involving his younger brother . Eyadema
issued the pardon before Kpotivi had appealed the conviction,
The President also pardoned 11 of the 13 students arrested in
August in connection with distribution of antigovernment
peimphlets before their cases came to trial. The other two
were tried before the Criminal Court in September and October,
found guilty, and sentenced to 5 years in prison. They were
subsequently pardoned by President Eyadema.
Togolese exiles in Ghana claim that Togo presently holds a
number of political prisoners. The 14 persons still
imprisoned for alleged involvement in a September 1986 coup
attempt remained in Kara in the north, where they were
transferred in October 1989 from the Toikin barracks. They
have been permitted to receive visitors since 1989.
f . Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Fcimily, Home, or
In routine criminal or civil cases, searches of private
residences are authorized by a judge or senior police
official. In political/national security cases, the security
forces need no prior authorization. The authorities routinely
continue to open mail and monitor telephones, and a government
network of informants keeps track of actual or perceived
opponents. Religious publications of the Jehovah's Witnesses
often disappear in the mail. All Togolese are automatically
members of Togo's sole political party and are required to
vote, but no one is forced to take an active party role. ~~
"European" first names are proscribed, and all Togolese are
required to have Togolese or Muslim first names.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
      a. Freedom of Speech and Press
There is no law protecting freedom of speech and press in
Togo. A new press code which appeared at the end of 1990
broke little new ground. A communique in July called for
freedom of the press, but censorship continues. Direct
criticism of the Government, and especially of the President,
is perceived as antigovernment activity and not tolerated.
The use of public forums to discuss limitations on executive
power, multiparty politics, and freedom of expression received
a setback in late 1989, when senior RPT officials verbally
disciplined human rights activist Djovi Gaily following his
public lecture and discussion on America's independent
judiciary. The officials threatened to bar Gaily from his
legal practice for 6 months. However, members of the Bar
Association successfully challenged the threatened closing of
Gaily' s practice.
In 1990 a growing number of pamphlets and tracts advocating
multipartyism and basic democratic freedoms were circulated,
primarily by students, despite government efforts to halt
distribution. Jeune Afrique articles, including those
covering the Gaily incident, the October disorders, and the
growing number of opposition groups, have been allowed
distribution in Togo. However, they disappeared quickly from
the newsstands, and many may have been bought up by the
The Government continues to dominate the print media and to
control radio and television. The official media project a
positive image of Togo and its President and simultaneously
condemn corruption and abuse of public trust. Ten independent
newspapers and the monthly journal of the Human Rights
Commission supplement the government-controlled daily
In practice, independent newspapers must follow censorship
procedures which require them to submit three copies of each
proposed edition to the Ministry of Interior, which has 4
hours to approve or disapprove distribution. There is a
nominal fine for failing to submit papers prior to
distribution, but more serious after-the-fact penalties may be
levied if material is found to be offensive or untrue.
In June Togolese authorities returned the sixth edition of the
independent Forum Hebdo to its editor for rewriting on the
basis of an 1881 French law which prohibits articles offensive
to foreign heads of state. This issue also criticized singleparty
domination of Togo, including restrictions on labor
unions and freedom of association. The Togolese Human Rights
Commission issued a public report supportive of the
Government's finding that the article was offensive to foreign
heads of state but criticized the Ministry of Interior on
procedural grounds. It also called on the Ministry of
Interior to ensure Forum Hebdo ' s continued existence.
The Government responded to the Forum Hebdo episode in early
July by issuing a communique guaranteeing freedom of the press
and expression but did not change the procedures. The
Ministry of Interior subsequently approved all remaining 1990
editions of Forum Hebdo, including one containing interviews
with three of the student activists arrested in August who
allegedly had suffered torture. Forum Hebdo also published a
series of demands issued by the Bar Association in response to
the Government's handling of the October demonstrations. The
Government permitted in July the establishment of a
nongovernmental association advocating press freedom.
There is government censorship of all films, video cassettes,
books, plays, and other writings published in Togo. Foreign
video tapes carried by Togolese arriving at the airport are
seized, reviewed, and normally returned after some delay and
payment of fees equivalent to $6 per tape. Bookstores sell a
wide range of books, including some containing veiled
criticism of Togo's system of government. Foreign
publications are openly sold in bookstores and on street
      b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Freedom of assembly is strictly controlled in Togo. The
organization of any official group or large group meetings
requires prior government approval. This effectively prevents
any antigovernment group from meeting, although nongovernmental
human rights groups held meetings toward the end of the year
without government interference.
The authorities attempted to break up with nonlethal force a
peaceful demonstration of some 5,000 people who gathered at
the Lome Court House on October 5 in support of the two
students tried on charges of distributing antigovernment
pamphlets. In the process, the authorities touched off a
major confrontation between the police and the crowd which
resulted in 4 deaths and 34 wounded. Human rights activists
claimed the number of casualties was higher. No independent
confirmation was available. A number of government offices
and vehicles were destroyed. Police, frequently outnumbered
by demonstrators, were beaten and stoned but did not fire. It
is unclear if this was due to restraint or lack of
ammunition. In protest of the actions of the security forces
in dispersing the crowd, the Bar Association held a 3-day
strike and demanded the punishment of the commanders of the
security forces. The Government claimed, but offered no
proof, that the demonstration was an attempt by foreigners to
overthrow the Government.
The Government routinely grants permission for nonpolitical
events and the formation of professional or charitable
      c. Freedom of Religion
The Government permits Togolese to participate in desired
religious activities. However, in order to operate publicly
all religious groups must qualify under one of seven
categories listed by the Ministry of Interior. Upon obtaining
Ministry permission, qualifying groups are then unrestricted
in their religious practices. They may publish religious
material, conduct services, and teach their faith.
Non-Togolese clergy are welcome to reside in Togo,
proselytize, and engage in other religious activities.
Currently, the Jehovah's Witnesses and several small
apostolic/celestial groups have been denied official
permission to practice their beliefs. While this has
prevented these groups from publicized, open worship, in 1990
they continued to practice their faith in private. Local
religious groups are free to maintain contacts with
coreligionists in other countries. There are no restrictions
on travel for religious purposes. All official religious
observances are ecumenical in nature, and the Government does
not favor any specific religion. Membership in authorized
religious groups has no bearing on civil service promotions.
      d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
Free movement (including domestic and foreign travel,
emigration, and the right to change residence or workplace) is
generally allowed. However, in issuing passports and visas,
the Government controls the emigration of professional
Togolese and keeps known political dissidents under scrutiny.
The Government maintains customs and security checkpoints on
all major routes throughout the country. Except for the few
political exiles, Togolese who have chosen to reside in other
countries may return at will.
Togo has a small refugee population. The United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognized some 500 refugees
in Togo at the end of 1990, although the actual number is
undoubtedly higher. The Government keeps a close watch on
political refugees, and refugees from countries with which
Togo enjoys good relations are reluctant to register with the
UNHCR for fear that the Togolese will provide their
governments with information about them. In May the
Government expelled 27 Ghanians to Ghana despite their claims
that they would be subject to arrest.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government
In 1990 citizens could not change their government through
democratic means. However, a presidentially appointed
commission is currently drafting a new constitution which will
be subject to a national referendum in late 1991. It is
expected to include authorization for a multiparty system.
Under the present Constitution, all Togolese are automatically
members of the RPT, and active party members may debate minor
issues at party meetings or raise complaints against local
officials. However, no one may challenge the Government's
programs. In 1986 President Eyadema, the only candidate, was
elected for another 7-year term with 99.7 percent of the vote.
Pursuant to the 1979 Constitution, National Assembly elections
were held in March. More than 200 candidates, including 7
women, contested the 77 seats. As all citizens are required
to vote, there was a high turnout, with voters casting their
ballots (color-coded for each candidate) in public.
Fifty-eight incumbents retained their seats. Although active
participation in the RPT was not a prerequisite, candidates
were required to submit their campaign literature for
government approval before it was printed at government
expense. Public gatherings were proscribed and candidates
were denied access to the media.
Theoretically, the Assembly has the right to reject laws
originating in the executive branch. In fact, the Assembly
has never rejected any proposed legislation, and most laws are
carried by acclamation.
In May the RPT party congress voted to increase discussion and
democratic practices within the party, but it rejected
multiparty democracy. The party congress also agreed in
principle to support President Eyadema ' s proposal to separate
the RPT from the State, but it later delayed implementation of
this proposal to December 1991. On October 10, the Central
Committee of the RPT announced a schedule for preparation of a
new constitution which is to culminate in a referendum at the
end of 1991. The schedule provided no firm dates. On October
26, President Eyadema announced a list of 109 people to serve
on the constitutional drafting committee. The majority are
either members of the RPT leadership, present or former
government officials, or military officers.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
of Human Rights
The Government has shown increased awareness of human rights
issues in recent years. In 1987 it approved and facilitated
the establishment of the Togolese Human Rights Commission to
investigate reports of human rights abuses. Despite some
positive steps to help safeguard human rights, the Commission
suffers important handicaps, chiefly its lack of independence
from the Government. In October Chairman Yao Agboyibor
resigned from the Commission. The Commission is composed of
13 members elected by 13 private and public bodies and
professions, including judges, doctors, teachers, and trade
union officials. The Commission is legally authorized to
receive complaints from any Togolese citizen or foreign
resident of Togo and to investigate such complaints with
access to government and police files. If a violation is
found, the Commission is authorized to negotiate with the
responsible governmental authority either* to rectify the wrong
or to submit the case to the courts or to the President. In
practice, however, few of the cases dealt with by the
Commission have pertained directly to human rights abuses and
particularly to the issue of political prisoners.
Commission members enjoy immunity from arrest or prosecution
during their term of office and for 1 year thereafter, and
this immunity has not been tested. Those filing petitions
have no immunity, and activists report that some people have
been deterred from filing by government pressure and/or fear
of harassment. Perhaps most significantly, the Commission
continues to take great care not to criticize the Government.
However, as noted earlier, the Commission did issue a report
confirming press reports of the torture of four government
critics and, while avoiding criticism of government censorship
of a particular issue of an independent journal, did urge
publicly that it be allowed to continue publishing.
Four additional human rights organizations were formed in
1990. The independent Human Rights League, founded in July,
is open to all Togolese interested in the promotion of human
rights and political freedom and actively pursued allegations
of torture in connection with the August arrests of 13
students accused of distributing antigovernment tracts. The
Togolese League for the Defense of Human Rights is dedicated
to educating the public and aiding in the defense of human
rights. Its leadership is drawn from government, academic,
and financial sectors. The Association for the Promotion of
the State of Law was founded by a group of private attorneys
and worked to promote the rule of law and democracy. The
Togolese Association for Freedom of the Press and the
Committee for the Defense of Press Freedom both advocate
freedom of the press and civil liberties. A new committee
opposed to torture has also been formed.
The Bar Association continued its involvement in human rights
issues. Hours after the Government's announcement of the
schedule for a new constitution, the Bar Association adopted
by overwhelming majority a list of demands which included a
presidential declaration of support for multipartyism, release
of persons charged with political acts, and an amnesty to
allow Togolese to return from overseas. The Bar Association
also issued a critique of the Government's mixed record on
democratization and urged the formation of a national
conference to debate Togo's future, followed by the formation
of a transitional government to implement the conference's
recommendations. The Committee for Democracy for the People
of Africa-Togo also issued a tract calling for the creation of
a neutral commission to investigate the October 5
demonstrations. The Bar Association critique was published in
Forum Hebdo
International human rights organizations have communicated
directly with the Togolese Human Rights Commission and the
Human Rights League concerning individual cases. The
President received a delegation from AI in October 1989 and,
among other things, assured the AI members that prison
conditions would be improved for those convicted in the 1986
sedition trial.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
Language, or Social Status
Before President Eyadema ' s seizure of power in 1967, southern
ethnic groups dominated Togo. A northerner. President Eyadema
has made a serious effort to integrate all ethnic groups into
the political structure. Ministers, governors, and other high
level officials are appointed in proportion to the ethnic mix
of the population. The exceptions are the security forces,
which are dominated by northern ethnic groups, and commerce
and the professions, which continue to be the preserve of
Togolese women have formal equality with men under the law,
and women's economic and social rights are spelled out in a
"family code" adopted in early 1980. This code guarantees
various women's rights, including maternity leave benefits.
However, in practice, women continue to be subjected to
discrimination, especially in education, pension benefits, and
traditional law. Far fewer women than men receive university
education, and the number of women graduates from secondary
schools is low. In the urban economic sphere, women dominate
both local market activities and commerce with Togo's
neighbors, often amassing considerable wealth in the process.
However, harsh economic conditions in rural areas leave women
with little time for anything other than taxing domestic and
agricultural work. A few women are involved in political
party activities. Unlike civil law, customary or traditional
law—which affects the vast majority of women—discriminates
against women, e.g., it gives all property to the male in the
event of separation or divorce. The Government has undertaken
efforts to change customs which, among other things, prevent
women from legally guaranteed access to contraception without
the permission of their husbands or fathers.
Violence against women, including wife beating, occurs, but
its extent is not known. Within the Togolese culture, such
violence is outside the bounds of accepted behavior, and for
this reason rarely comes to the public surface, including in
the press. Mechanisms exist within both the traditional
extended family and formal judicial structures for redress,
but the police rarely intervene in domestic violence cases.
Female circumcision is practiced by a few northern ethnic
groups but is gradually diminishing. While the Government has
undertaken a campaign to make women throughout Togo aware of
their expanded opportunities under the new family code, it has
not specifically addressed the issue of violence against women
or female circumcision. A government-sponsored national
women's organization publicizes women's health, educational,
and welfare issues.
Section 6 Worker Rights
      a. The Right of Association
The right of association is limited since the Government
favors the National Confederation of Workers of Togo (CNTT),TOGQ
which is associated with the sole political party. The CNTT
unites various individual trade unions into one national labor
organization. Union membership is not compulsory, biit all
wage earners—whether or not members of CNTT-af filiated
unions—pay dues to the CNTT through an automatic check-off
system. The CNTT returns to affiliated unions only a fraction
of the dues paid by union members. Unions can and do exist
outside of the CNTT, but they do not benefit from the
automatic check-off system. The Committee of Experts (COE) of
the International Labor Organization (ILO) has concluded that
the effect of the compulsory dues system is to establish a
trade union monopoly for the CNTT. The COE has requested that
the Government remove this exclusivity and bring its
legislation into conformity with ILO Convention 87 on Freedom
of Association, which Togo has ratified.
Strikes are authorized only as a means of last resort but in
the past have rarely taken place, have been short, and have
ended as a result of government arbitration. In November
longshoremen struck for higher wages, and taxi drivers struck
in protest of expensive new licensing requirements. Violent
clashes between the protesters and government security forces
occurred when the protesters blocked streets in Lome and two
other cities. As in the past, the Government acted as
arbitrator in these cases, negotiating with the strikers to
resolve the dispute. Negotiations were still under way at the
end of the year. Although security forces did clash with the
strikers while maintaining public order, the Government did
not resort to coercion, force, or arrests to end strikes.
The CNTT is a member of the Organization of African Trade
Union unity and the Organization of Trade Unions of West
Africa. It is not otherwise affiliated internationally,
although it maintains ties with international and national
trade union organizations in both the East and West.
Individual Togolese unions are affiliated with
Western-oriented international trade secretariats.
      b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
The CNTT is not an independent union and basically conveys the
Government's views and requirements to workers. The CNTT does
have a role in the wage bargaining process and does, on
certain issues, represent the workers' economic interests to
the Government. A law allowing the establishment of export
processing zones (EPZ) was enacted in late 1989. Several
companies received export processing zone status in 1990. The
EPZ law provides exemptions from some provisions of Togolese
labor law.
      c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
Although the law is silent on the question, forced or
compulsory labor does not exist. There are, however,
occasional early morning mobilizations of the populations in
larger towns and cities to clean streets and pick up trash.
      d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children
The Labor Code prohibits the employment of children under the
age of 14 in any enterprise. Some types of industrial and
technical employment require a minimum age of 18. These age
requirements are generally enforced in urban areas by
inspectors from the Ministry of Labor. However, in ruralyOGO
areas even very young children traditionally help their
families with agricultural work or animal husbandry.
      e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
Labor practices are regulated by the Labor Code. The Code
stipulates that there should be equal pay for equal work
regardless of sex, and this provision is generally observed.
Working hours of all employees in any enterprise, except for
agricultural enterprises, should not normally exceed 40 hours
per week; at least one period of 24 hours of rest per week is
compulsory; and workers should receive 30 days of paid leave
each year . Minimum wages are set by the Government after
discussions with the CNTT and officials of the Ministry of
Rural Development. These discussions cannot be characterized
as true bargaining agreements. The minimum wage in the
agricultural sector is about 20 cents per hour, and in the
nonagricultural sector about 25 cents per hour. Workers
cannot maintain a decent standard of living on such wages, and
minimum wage workers must often supplement their incomes
through second jobs or through some subsistence farming.
Larger enterprises must run a regular medical service for
their employees.
Health and safety standards in the workplace are determined by
a technical consulting committee in the Ministry of Labor,
which may levy penalties on employers who do not meet the
conditions. In practice, the Ministry's enforcement of the
various provisions of the Labor Code is limited. Large
enterprises usually attempt to respect these rules, but
smaller firms and the large agricultural sector do not
maintain them. Due to Togo's significant unemployment,
workers seldom complain about conditions.