Here are the our most recent statement on events in Togo.
TCL Letter to President Akufo-Addo in regards to the safety of Togolese Refugees in Ghana
Accra, January 2, 2019
To: His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana
CC: The parliament of Ghana
On Tuesday January 1, 2019 witness reports from Jasikan, Ghana confirmed by the news media has exposed a plot by Togo security forces to arrest some political dissidents on ghanaian soil. The plot was foiled by the vigilant residents of Jasikan who arrested three members of the togolese squad and handed them over to the ghanaian authorities. Unfortunately, the alleged offenders were escorted back to Togo before any proper investigation and appropriate sanction to what appear to be a state sponsored kidnaping in a foreign country.
The Togolese Civil League strongly condemns the actions of the Togolese government who is notorious for brutalizing and killing its citizens who express political views.
The Togolese Civil League is concerned about the handling of this incident by the ghanaian authorities without a full a thorough investigation. It is odd that an allegation as serious as kidnapping, executed by foreign security forces did not get the proper due diligence required to send a clear message and reassure citizens. It is important to remind Ghanaian authorities about the duty to protect refugees under international agreements.
This is not, unfortunately, the first time the togolese government is committing a crime on ghanaian soil including the murders in 1995 of former government official Felix Amegan and opposition leader Lieutenant Vincent Tokofai and in 1997 of former Togolese diplomat and dissident Ferdinand Romuard.
The Togolese Civil League is:
grateful to the residents of Jasikan for defending their Togolese hosts
calling for a full investigation of this incident and for the results of the investigation to be made public.
requesting that all responsible parties be held accountable and brought to justice
asking for Ghana to provide adequate protection for the Togolese refugees within its border according to the ghanaian value of hospitality, compassion and history of upholding human rights.
The Togolese Civil League is pleading that you use your full authority and influence to ensure the welfare of Togolese who have had to flee their country due to the ongoing political crisis.
Farida Bemba Nabourema
Highlights of the Government repression as of December 2018.
December 30, 2018
For the past 18 months, Togo has been experiencing a serious political crisis triggered by protests that started on August 19, 2017. Constitutional term limit and a two rounds ballot system are at the heart of the issue. Negotiation between the government and the main opposition parties have stalled. Meanwhile, sporadic street protests have led to clashes between the security forces and the civilians, causing death and injuries among the population. The situation remains tenses even after the legislative elections held on December 20, 2018. The election was largely boycotted by the population but gave a large victory to the ruling party in the incoming parliament.Here is a summary of the current situation in Togo.
A militarized state
Since the beginning of the demonstrations in 2017, the security forces response has been brutal. The government has used a combination of police forces, the gendarmerie and the military to respond to protests and control the cities. There are deployment of forces in all cities across Togo. This includes tanks, army patrol vehicles, fool patrols and heavily armed security forces. There is also the use of militia that are threatening, intimidating and reporting pro opposition citizens to the authorities. Local officials such the the prefects are also using their powers to threaten the population. This is all a part of a deliberate efforts to close spaces and put communities on a lockdown. As a result, many people have fled to neighboring countries or simply gone underground.
Member of the civil society remain in jailed. Messenth Kokodoko and Joseph Eza has been detained since october 2017 without trial and denied bail. Assiba Johnson and Folly Satchivi are also being detained without trial. Dozen more people arrested during protests are being detained.
The government has denied protests authorization to the opposition. They have also forbidden press conference or meeting in private facilities. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are seriously restricted. There are also countless videos of the gendarmes beating civilians on the streets.
Ahead of the December election, 3 people were killed by the security forces during the elections. The government is using firearms to respond to peaceful demonstrators. On December 1, there was a video showing an army pickup truck cruising on a dirt road. From the truck, a military man emerged with a rifle, aimed and shot. Eyewitness report that the shot hit a 12 year old unarmed civilian. They also report that the man in the truck was the top commander of the Togolese Army, Gal Felix Kadanga. This add to the death toll of the Togo protests since 2017. Dozen of citizens including at least 5 minors have lost their lives. Many more were injured with bullet.
TCL Statement on the Killing of an unarmed child in Togo
December 9, 2019
The Togolese Civil League is gravely concerned with the killings of innocents Civilians during protests in Togo on Saturday December 8, 2018. Reports from Togo including eye witnesses and video recording clearly show the top official of Togolese Armed forces, General Felix Kadanga, cruising on a dirt road on a pickup truck, then aiming a rifle to shoot unarmed civilians. The Togolese Civil League has confirmed that the indiscriminate shooting has caused two lives including an 11 years old.
A week prior, on November 29, Togo armed forces have shot expired tear gases in a classroom in Lome, harming dozens of schoolgirls. These is an act of terrorism and a violation of basic human right and international norms that can not go unpunished. The Togolese Civil League calls on the US State Department, the US Congress, International Human Right organizations and democracy advocacy groups to take an official position on these killing that can not be justified in any form as a normal police activity.
The relative silence of the US government on the political violence in Togo surprisingly contrasts with the clear position is has taken on similar issues in Nicaragua, Venezuela and other parts of the worlds when state-sponsored violence and a direct involvement of armed forces are being used to oppress civilians.
The Togolese Civil League is asking the US and the International Community to:
conduct a full international investigation of the government’s use of violence in Togo
re-assess the Togo Armed Forces involvement in peacekeeping missions around the world considering the involvement of their top official in the killing of civilians
review military cooperation between the US and the Togo government
support the Civil Society and protect civilians in Togo
Democracy and Freedom are fundamental rights and no one deserved to be killed for asking for them. It is time to send a strong message and set a zero tolerance for the Togolese government when it come to the use of violence.
Farida Bemba Nabourema