Sao Tome and Principe

Executive Summary

The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe is a multiparty constitutional democracy. On September 5, voters elected President Carlos Manuel Vila Nova as head of state. The legislative elections in 2018 produced a peaceful transfer of power from the Independent Democratic Action to a coalition of other parties. International observers deemed the presidential and legislative elections generally free and fair.

The public security police and judicial police maintain internal security. The army and coast guard are responsible for external security. Both the public security police and the military report to the Ministry of Defense and Internal Affairs. The Judicial Police report to the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration, and Human Rights. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; the existence of criminal libel laws; serious government corruption; and a lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence and violence against children.

The government took some steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed abuses, including corruption; however, impunity continued to be a problem.

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U.S. Department of State

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