Togo needs concrete actions to address the deterioration of civic space

Statement at the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council


Delivered by Nicola Paccamiccio

Thank you, Mr President.

Mr President, CIVICUS, Coalition Togolaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CTDDH) and Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (ROADDH/WAHRDN) welcome the government of Togo’s engagement with the UPR process. We welcome that Togo supported 20 of the 24 recommendations it received relating to civic space.

However, Togo failed to implement any of the civic space recommendations it received in the previous cycle. Our joint submission found that Togo has persistently failed to address unwarranted restrictions on civic space and particularly acute implementation gaps were found with regards to fundamental freedoms and the protection of human rights defenders.

Space for civil society has been deteriorating in Togo since mass anti-government protests in 2017-2018, including through the killing of protesters, the arrest and prosecution of human rights defenders, journalists and pro-democracy activists, the banning of civil society and opposition protests, the suspension of media outlets, disruption of access to the internet and social media and the adoption of restrictive legislation.

Authorities in Togo continue to adopt laws and regulations that restrict civic space and hamper the work of human rights defenders.

A law adopted by authorities in March 2020 in response to Togo’s first case of COVID-19, allowing the government to take measures by decrees, including on fundamental rights and freedoms and civic rights, remains in place.

In January 2022, the government issued a decree setting conditions for cooperation between non-governmental organisations and the government, which contains restrictive provisions allowing mayors and prefects to prohibit peaceful protests in their districts.

We call on the government of Togo to take concrete steps to repeal all laws and regulations restricting fundamental freedoms in Togo, including the new law on freedom of assembly, Cybersecurity law, and certain restrictive provisions in the Penal Code, and to adopt the draft law on the protection of human rights defenders, submitted by civil society in 2019 in line with the United Nations Declaration of 1998.

We thank you.


Civic sace in Togo is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor 

 

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