The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is a member of the United Nations and the African Union. It has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions (compare list on the right) and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents.
São Tomé and Príncipe is a Portuguese-speaking island country in the Atlantic Ocean off the western equatorial coast of Africa. With an area of 1,001 square km it is a very small country. On a global scale, its population density is high. The capital of the country, which became independent on 12 July 1975 from Portugal, is São Tomé. São Tomé and Príncipe is a member of the regional economic communities ECCAS and CEN-SAD.
With a Human Development Index of 0.65 São Tomé and Príncipe ranks 131st of 182 countries ranked in the UNDP Human Development Report of 2009. Life expectancy of the 200,000 inhabitants at birth is 65 years, population growth is 1.8 percent per year. GNI is 1,020 US-$ per capita. External debt is 117.1 percent of gross national income. Primary school enrolment is 97.1 percent.
In as far as São Tomé and Príncipe has ratified the Optional Protocols for UN Human Rights Conventions or has accepted the Competence of the corresponding UN Treaty Bodies (compare list on the right), the inhabitants of São Tomé and Príncipe and their representatives are able to invoke their human rights through these bodies.
All inhabitants of São Tomé and Príncipe may turn to the UN Human Rights Committee through procedure 1503, to the Special Rapporteurs for violations of specific human rights or to ECOSOC for women's rights violations.
Since São Tomé and Príncipe is a member state of UNESCO, its citizens may use the UNESCO procedure for human rights violations in UNESCO's fields of mandate.
Employers' or workers' and certain other organizations (not individuals) of São Tomé and Príncipe may file complaints through the ILO procedure in the cases of those conventions which São Tomé and Príncipe has ratified.
Since São Tomé and Príncipe is an AU member, its citizens and NGOs may file complaints to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
They may also file complaints according to the EU guidelines (on Human Rights Defenders, Death Penalty and Torture) to Embassies of EU Member States and the Delegations of the European Commission.
In cases of human rights violations by multinational enterprises, they may also invoke the National Contact Point in an OECD member state.
São Tomé and Príncipe has not yet joined the International Criminal Court.