Equatorial Guinea, with an estimated population of approximately one million, is nominally a multiparty constitutional republic. All branches of government were dominated by President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled since seizing power in a military coup in 1979, along with his clan from the majority Fang ethnic group and his political party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE). In November 2009 President Obiang was reelected with 95.37 percent of votes cast. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
The following human rights problems were reported: limited ability of citizens to change their government; unlawful killings, including summary executions; abductions by security forces; torture of detainees and prisoners by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; official impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention; harassment and deportation of foreign residents with limited due process; constraints on judicial independence; official corruption at all levels of government; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement; official corruption and impunity; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights.