Same-sex conduct is banned in Togo under the Articles 392 and 393 of the Penal Code 2015, which criminalises ‘immodest or unnatural acts’. This provision carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine. Both men and women are criminalised under this law. In 1960, Eastern Togo officially gained independence from France, which had long since decriminalised same-sex sexual activity. The law that criminalises same-sex activity is, therefore, of local origin, and uses the same formulation of ‘crime against nature’ as the British colonial system.
There is limited evidence of the law being enforced in recent years, with LGBT people being occasionally subject to arrest, though reports suggest that they are often arrested and charged under offences other than the same-sex activity provision. Togo has no protections for LBTI people if they are discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In June 2016, during a United Nations Human Rights Council vote on ‘Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity’ to mandate the appointment of an independent expert on the subject, Togo voted against the resolution.
The CEDAW Committee did not provide any SOGIESC-focused recommendations to Togo in 2012. The List of Issues also did not have any LBTI-inclusive questions.
Other general recommendations by the Committee that can apply to LBTI people include:
- (a) to develop and implement a comprehensive maternal and child mortality reduction programme, and increasing access of women and girls to SRHR services
- (b) Raise awareness about the importance of girls education and ensure de facto equal access of girls and women to all levels of education;
- (c) Enforce a zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual abuse and harassment in schools and ensure that perpetrators are punished appropriately;
- (d) to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women who face multiple forms of discrimination, including older women, women with disabilities and women in detention; implement these measures, as applicable, in political, public, social and economic life and in the areas of education, employment and health, and protect these women from violence, abuse and exploitation; in particular, ensure adequate educational opportunities for girls and boys with disabilities, including by integrating them into mainstream education; and ensure the provision of adequate health facilities and services for women in detention, in particular for pregnant women;
- (e) Address the root causes of prostitution of women and girls, including poverty, in order to eliminate the vulnerability of women and girls to sexual exploitation and trafficking.