Equatorial Guinea is known for human rights abuses. Under the current government it has "limited ability of citizens to change their government; increased reports of unlawful murders of civilians by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention and incommunicado detention; harassment and deportation of foreign residents with limited due process; judicial corruption and lack of due process; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press; restrictions on the rights of assembly, association, and movement; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights."
There were multiple irregularities in the 2009 legislative elections, but they were considered an improvement over the flawed 2002 and 2004 elections. There is a cult of personality in Equatorial Guinea around the leader. In order to improve his image, long time autocrat Teodoro Obiang hired Racepoint, a global marketing and public relations firm, for $60,000 a year to improve Equatorial Guinea's image. Transparency International includes Equatorial Guinea as one of its most 12 corrupt states.
Equatorial Guinea also had the death penalty. In September 2022, this was cancelled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.
In June 2007 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Equatorial Guinea and reported that political prisoners are sometimes tried by military rather than civilian courts. Nongovernmental sources cited around 100 prisoners jailed for political reasons, with many held at the notorious Black Beach Prison.
According to parliamentary testimony, on October 6, 2007, Salvador Ndong Nguema, a member of the opposition party Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS), died from torture in custody of security forces. Two members of the security forces were taken in, but released and assigned to other security duties.
On March 12–13, 2009, Saturnino Ncogo Mbomio, a member of banned political party died in police detention at Evinayong, ostensibly in possession of weapons for a coup. He died from a fractured skull, allegedly gotten in a suicide attempt falling from his bunk bed.
Equatorial Guinea's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows: