Last updated: January 2017
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Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Law reform has been achieved. Corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings, including the home.

Legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is prohibited in the home under article 353 of the Children’s Code 2007 together with article 357. Article 353 protects children from all forms of violence perpetrated by parents or any other person having control or custody of the child: “The state protects the child from all forms of violence including sexual abuse, physical or mental injury or abuse, abandonment or neglect, and ill treatment by parents or by any other person having control or custody over him” (unofficial translation). Article 357 explicitly includes corporal punishment among the forms of violence that are punishable: “Physical and psychological abuse, corporal punishment, deprivation of care or withholding of food are punished by the penalties provided [above]” (unofficial translation).

 

Alternative care settings

Corporal punishment is prohibited in all forms of alternative care under articles 353, 357 and 376 of the Children’s Code 2007 (see under “Home” and “School”).

 

Day care

Corporal punishment is prohibited in all forms of early childhood care and all day care for older children under articles 353, 357 and 376 of the Children’s Code 2007 (see under “Home” and “School”).

 

School

Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools, vocational training centres and institutions in article 376 of the Children’s Code 2007 (unofficial translation): “Corporal punishment and other forms of violence or abuse are prohibited in schools, vocational training, and institutions. This includes any institution or orphanage, rehabilitation centre for disabled children, reception and rehabilitation centre, hospital, re-education centre or other place of childcare, temporary or permanent.”

 

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions. The Children’s Code 2007 states that children in conflict with the law should be treated with humanity and with respect for their human dignity and prohibits inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment (art. 347), and explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in institutions (art. 376) (see under “School”).

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. There is no provision for judicial corporal punishment in the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

 

Universal Periodic Review of Togo’s human rights record

Togo was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2011 (session 12). No recommendations were made specifically concerning corporal punishment of children. However, the following recommendations were made and were accepted by the Government:[1]

“Strengthen efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Australia);

“Develop a national plan of action for the implementation of children’s rights and to adopt a holistic child rights approach (Islamic Republic of Iran);

“Develop policies and actions aimed at modifying or eliminating customs and practices that promote violence and/or discrimination against women, covering family, marital, social and working areas (Mexico);

“Take necessary measures to effectively combat violence against women and girls and enact legislation on domestic violence. (Republic of Moldova);

“Adopt all necessary measures to eradicate child abuse, labour and sexual exploitation of children, as well as violence against children, paying particular attention to cases of children who are killed because they were born with disabilities, malformation, without pigmentation or because their mother died during childbirth (Uruguay);

“Take adequate measures to counter the worrying increase of violence against, abuse and sexual exploitation of children, by ensuring the implementation of applicable laws including through awareness and education programmes targeting more particularly parents, teachers, correctional officers and other relevant professionals (Canada)”

Examination in the second cycle took place in 2016 (session 26). No recommendation was issued specifically on corporal punishment of children.

Togo will be examined in the third cycle in 2021.


Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations

Session 059 (2012)

(8 March 2012, CRC/C/TGO/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 43 and 44)

"While welcoming the prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, as provided for in the Children’s Code, the Committee expresses concern that corporal punishment remains socially accepted and widely practiced in schools and in the home.

"The Committee urges the State party to take more active measures to raise awareness on the negative impact of all forms of corporal punishment, as recommended by the Committee since 1997 (CRC/C/15/Add.83, para. 40 and CRC/C/15/Add.255, para. 39). The Committee in particular urges the State party to:

a) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against persons subjecting children to corporal punishment;

b) introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on the harmful physical and psychological effects of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice, and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and alternative forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

c) ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies against violence and other forms of abuse; and

d) take guidance from the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment."

Read more from Session 059 (2012)

Session 038 (2005)

(31 March 2005, CRC/C/15/Add.255, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 6, 38 and 39)

"The Committee regrets that many of the concerns and recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.83) it made upon consideration of the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/3/Add.42) have been insufficiently addressed, especially those regarding ... corporal punishment (para. 40)....

"The Committee is deeply concerned that corporal punishment of children remains legally and socially accepted, and consequently is common in families and schools and other institutions for children, despite the Committee’s previous recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.83) and the Order of the Ministry of Education issued in 1980.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) adopt a law effectively prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of children in the family, in schools, in detention centres, in other forms of childcare institutions and in the community;

b) take effective measures to prohibit the use of violence against children, including corporal punishment, by parents, teachers and other caregivers;

c) undertake well-targeted public awareness campaigns on the negative impact of corporal punishment on children, and provide teachers and parents with training on non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment."

Read more from Session 038 (2005)

Session 016 (1997)

(10 October 1997, CRC/C/15/Add.83, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 17 and 40)

"The Committee is concerned at the fact that corporal punishment is a common practice in the family, in schools and in other institutions. In this regard, the Committee is worried by the absence of a comprehensive law that clearly prohibits corporal punishment of children.

"In the light of articles 3, 19 and 28 (2), the Committee strongly recommends that corporal punishment be explicitly prohibited by law and that information campaigns be launched to appropriately sensitize adults on the dangers and harms of the practice. The Committee further recommends that the legislation protecting children from violence be amended in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Convention."

Read more from Session 016 (1997)

Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations

CAT session 049 (2012)

(11 December 2012, CAT/C/TGO/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, para. 19)

"The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment of children is prohibited in schools but not in social or family situations, where it is reported to be “common and socially acceptable provided that it remains proportionate” (art. 16).

The State party should amend its criminal legislation, particularly Act No. 2007-017 of 6 July 2007 on the Children’s Code, so as to prohibit and criminalize all forms of corporal punishment of children in all environments and contexts, in accordance with international standards."

Read more from CAT session 049 (2012)

CAT session 036 (2006)

(28 July 2006, CAT/C/TGO/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, para. 19)

"The Committee has noted the worrying detention conditions prevailing in Togo, in particular in Lomé and Kara prisons. The most widespread problems are overcrowding and a shortage of food, poor hygiene and a lack of material, human and financial resources. The treatment of prisoners remains a matter of concern to the Committee. Cases of corporal punishment for disciplinary offences have been reported. Often women and children are not held separately from men and adults, and persons awaiting trial are not separated from those serving sentence (art. 11).

The State party should put an end to practices that run counter to the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. It should also take immediate steps to reduce overcrowding in prisons and the number of people held in pretrial detention, and to ensure that women and children are held separately from men and adults and that persons awaiting trial are separated from those serving sentence."

Read more from CAT session 036 (2006)

Prevalence/attitudinal research for Togo in the last 10 years

In a study on the wellbeing and vulnerability of child domestic workers, 56% of the child domestic workers involved in Togo said their employers physically punished them. The study was conducted in 2009 in Peru, Costa Rica, Togo, Tanzania, India and Philippines with around 3,000 children, mostly aged 10-17, half of whom worked as paid or unpaid domestic workers.

(Anti-Slavery International (2013), Home Truths: Wellbeing and vulnerabilities of child domestic workers, London: Anti-Slavery International)

According to statistics collected in 2010 under round 4 of the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey programme (MICS4), 93.2% of children aged 2-14 experienced violent “discipline” (physical punishment and/or psychological aggression) in the home in the month prior to the survey. More than three quarters (77.4%) experienced physical punishment, while a smaller percentage (34.6%) of mothers and caregivers thought physical punishment was necessary in childrearing. Seventeen per cent of children were severely physically punished (hit or slapped on the face, head or ears or hit over and over with an implement), 85.6% experienced psychological aggression (being shouted at, yelled at, screamed at or insulted).

(Direction Générale de la Statistique et de la Comptabilité Nationale (2012), Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples MICS Togo (2010), Rapport final, Direction Générale de la Statistique et de la Comptabilité Nationale & UNICEF)

A 2010 UNICEF analysis of data from 2005-2006 found that 91% of children aged 2-14 experienced violent “discipline” (physical punishment and/or psychological aggression) in the home in the month prior to the survey. More than three quarters experienced physical punishment. Non-violent discipline was also widely used, experienced by 90% of children. More than a quarter of children experienced severe physical punishment (being hit or slapped on the face, head or ears or being hit over and over with an implement), 83% psychological aggression (being shouted at, yelled at, screamed at or insulted). Children aged 5-9 were slightly more likely to experience violent discipline than younger children (92% of 5-9 year olds compared to 87% of 2-4 year olds). No significant differences in children’s experience of violent discipline were found according to sex, household size, level of education of adults in the household or engagement in child labour.

(UNICEF (2010), Child Disciplinary Practices at Home: Evidence from a Range of Low- and Middle-Income Countries, NY: UNICEF)

From mid-2005, Plan Togo commissioned research into violence and abuse in schools. This included a joint study with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) which involved interviews with 1,000 schoolchildren in 35 villages and more than 500 mothers of school aged children, teachers, traditional chiefs, members of security services, social workers and others, a case study on violence and abuse in Togolese schools comprising 19 first-person narratives and observations based on interviews with children, parents and teachers in 7 villages and 2 towns, and a discussion of structural violence in the education system in Togo. In the FAWE research, children in their last 3 years of primary school were interviewed: 88% of the girls and 87% of the boys reported experiencing physical violence at school; 52% of girls and 48% of boys reported experiencing threatening behaviour or psychological violence.

(Plan Togo (2006), Suffering to Succeed? Violence and abuse in schools in Togo, Lome: Plan Togo)

Footnotes

[1] 14 December 2011, A/HRC/19/10, Report of the working group, paras. 100(10), 100(29), 100(42), 100(59), 100(66) and 101(13)

Child population

3,553,000 (UNICEF, 2015)

National and regional advocacy for law reform

n/a

Forthcoming treaty body examinations and UPRs

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): 2021, session 40, deadline for briefing tbc

Committee Against Torture (CAT): Date of examination to be confirmed

Human Rights Committee (ICCPR): Date of examination tbc, deadline for briefing (LOIPR) has passed

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