human rights

A coalition of eight civil society organisations (CSOs) has called on the government of Togo to ensure that human rights defenders and activists can freely exercise their rights in the country.

The eight CSOs, including African Defenders, Coalition des Défenseurs des Droits Humains du Benin (CDDH-Benin) and Coalition Ivoirienne des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CIDDH), said that human rights activists have been under mounting repression since president Faure Gnassingbé was reelected for a fourth term in February 2020.

The statement said that the crackdown on the civil society in Togo had come through increased sanctions against critical newspapers, smear campaigns and legal harassment of journalists and activists.

‘In this context, we, the undersigned, urge the Togolese government to ensure that civil society organisations, human rights defenders and political activists involved in promoting human rights can freely exercise their rights and refrain from taking any punitive measure against people organising or participating in peaceful protests’, the statement read.

‘We also call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to urge Togo to comply with its legal obligations under international and African human rights instruments, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’.

Freedom House rated the west African country as ‘partly free’ in its 2021 Freedom in the World study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide, with the country earning 43 out of a possible 100 points.

Data form Amnesty International (AI) shows that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were restricted in Togo throughout 2020.

Source: African Defenders

Photo source: Institute for Security Studies 

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