Togo has for several years been taking steps towards better protecting human rights and guaranteeing “the physical and mental integrity, life and security of everyone living on the national territory” as indicated in article 13 of the constitution of the Fifth Republic.
In an aim to strengthen the mechanism for the defense of the rights of Togolese in general and those fighting for the defense of human rights in particular, the Togolese government has decided to take action towards the consolidation and protection of the rights of human rights defenders by seeking the expertise of a consultant for the development of a guide on the rights of human rights defenders.
To this end, several actors and stakeholders in the defense of human rights met with the said consultant on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 in Lomé, in order to discuss the draft of a preliminary bill on the recognition and protection of human rights defenders in Togo that he developed.
The aim of this meeting was to observe, professionalize, and improve the draft proposed by the consultant with regard to international standards relating to human rights, comparative law and the national context in order to create a safe and strong framework for the defense of human rights as well as more effective protection of human rights defenders in Togo.
Through constructive proposals, pragmatic approaches and amendments, this document is expected to set precedent as a model for the protection of defenders’ rights.
At the opening of the proceedings, the representative of the Minister of Human Rights, Citizenship Training and Institutions of the Republic, Djeri Adjawè reiterated the government’s gratitude to all bilateral and multilateral partners, in particular the UNDP and OHCHR, who provided technical and financial assistance to the Ministry of Human Rights, to support its mission of protecting human rights and consolidating peace in Togo.
During the event, Ms. Pauline Dokou, Director of Conflict Prevention at the Ministry of Human Rights, underlined that the establishment of legal data that protect and promote the defense of the rights of HRDs is essential for the rule of law.
Tontasse Essohana, the consultant recruited for the task, abounded in the main axes of his work obtained after several interviews with the various actors involved which can be summed up in three parts. This included the definition of human rights defenders, their roles and duties and the role of the state in protecting the rights of defenders.