Informe sobre el país: Togo

Ultima revisión: 06 Ago 1998
06 Ago 1998

After achieving independence from France in 1960, Togo has been ruled by former chief of staff General Eyadéma since 1967. He has consistently favoured members of the Kabye-tribe in government positions and in the armed forces. He was elected president in 1993 and again in 1998 in grossly unfair elections. The armed forces have frequently been involved in political killings of civilians as well as soldiers, which are normally not investigated. Many soldiers killed were suspected of membership of the Association of Democratic Servicemen. [2] [3] [5] [9]

1 Conscription

It is unclear whether conscription exists and if so whether it is enforced.

According to the government in 1983 Togo has no conscription. [1]

Other sources state that there is selective conscription for a two-year military service. [6] [7] [8]


It is believed that 70 percent of the soldiers and 90 percent of the officers of the armed forces are Kabye, President Eyadéma's ethnic group which constitutes 15 percent of the population. Many have been recruited personally by the President at village wrestling matches. These matches have become a means for young Kabye men to be recruited into the armed forces. Thus, the armed forces are in fact a tribal private militia in the exclusive service of President Eyadéma and a group of officers from Pya, the President's birthplace. Non-Kabye officers from the south of Togo are not allowed to head combat units and are excluded from other units such as the Presidential Guard, the Second Mechanized Battalion, the Airborne Troops, the Para-Commando Regiments and the Rapid Intervention Force. [3]

The Defence and Security Commission of Togo has acknowledged that: "As a result of sociological, economic and cultural changes, young people from other regions have presented themselves at our barrack gates and been turned away, since an essentially tribal system has prevailed in army recruitment since 1963. (...) The army's task is, in fact, to ensure the defence and perpetuity of a political system; to ensure the exclusive protection of the person of the Head of State; to fight an enemy within, which is none other than the People." [2]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection. [4]

3 Draft evasion and desertion

No information available.

6 Annual statistics

The Togolese armed forces have increased over tenfold since the late 1960s, from 1,200 in 1967 to about 13,500 or 14,000 in 1991, which implies that there have been massive recruitment campaigns since the 1970s. [4]

In 1997 the armed forces were 7,000-strong - that is, 0.15 percent of the population. [8]

Every year about 40,000 men turn 18. [8]


[1] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [2] Amnesty International 1993. Togo: Impunity for killings by the military. AI (AFR 57/13/93), London, UK [3] UNHCR 1993. Togo: General human rights situation. CDR, 25 October 1993. [4] War Resisters' International 1994. Issues of conscience and military service. War Resisters International, London. [5] Amnesty International 1994. Togo: A new era for human rights? AI, London, UK. [6] Brett, R. & M. McCallin 1996. Children, the invisible soldiers. Rädda Barnen, Stockholm, Sweden. [7] UN Commission on Human Rights 1997. The question of conscientious objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83. United Nations, Geneva. [8] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK. [9] NRC Handelsblad (Dutch newspaper), 31 July 1998.