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Togo - Universal Periodic Review - Civil and Political Rights - July 2021

Date: July 15, 2021
Country: Togo
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Detention, Due Process and Fair Trial, Enforced Disappearance, Expression and Opinion, Extrajudicial Killing
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Advocates for Human Rightstogether with Togolese Diaspora Forces (Diaspora Forces Minnesota)submitted a stakeholder report relating to civil and political rights in Togo for the40th session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. 

The Togolese Government frequently violates the fundamental legal safeguards of individuals participating in peaceful public demonstrations in Togo. The government engages in arbitrary arrest and detention of potential demonstrators, using this threat to reduce the number of demonstrators and discourage people from exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, opinion, and expression. Persons involved in demonstrations called for by the opposition parties (PNP, DMK)have been subjected to excessive use of force and violence by law enforcement and the militaryoften resulting in death. Law enforcement also routinely torture individuals arrested for participating in peaceful demonstrations, including whippings and beatingsFurther, conditions of detention in Togo are dangerously overcrowded and unsanitary, rising to the level of inhumane or degrading treatment. The legal system and policies in Togo fail to provide individuals with adequate protection from politically motivated violence. Additionally, judges do not consistently adhere to due process or provide victims with adequate legal representation. 

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendations for the Government of Togo: 

  • Investigate and prosecute the torture and ill-treatment committed by State actors during the demonstrations organized by the PNP and DMK. 

  • Establish and use an independent mechanism for investigating complaints of torture or ill-treatment at the hands of members of police or security forces. 

  • Take immediate action to cease overcrowding, including commuting sentences and releasing persons in pretrial detention without charges. 

  • End the practice of using preemptive arrest and detention to deter freedom of opinion, expression and assembly, including participation in opposition demonstrations. 

  • Train all judicial officers on proper administration of the law protecting freedom of assembly and freedom of expression and opinion and on the role of human rights defenders. 

  • Empower grassroots communities to engage in promotion and protection of their human rights, consistent with international human rights standards and referencing local customs such as traditional conflict management roles for local authorities and community leaders.