Negotiations for a human rights defenders’ law in Togo

African Media Agency

An information and exchange meeting between human rights defenders’ organisations (HRDOs) around a consultant allowed progress to be made on the preliminary draft law on the protection of human rights defenders.

The process of drafting a bill on the protection of human rights defenders is underway. About fifteen human rights defenders’ organisations (ODDH) exchanged with Marius Essohana TONTASSE, the consultant recruited by the ministry in charge of human rights on Tuesday 4 August in Lomé, on the content of the future law to protect human rights defenders.

This meeting aims to collect the various proposals of the Human Rights Defenders to provide these actors with an inclusive legal regulatory framework that takes into account the various aspects of the protection of HRDs as well as the framework of exercise.

Welcoming this initiative to create a legal framework for the protection of HRDs, Bonaventure MAWUVI, president of the Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CTDDH), expressed his hope that the process would lead to a law in which all parties would find themselves, specifying that the protection of HRDs is the responsibility of the government.

According to him, the absence of a law in Togo makes HRDs vulnerable and discourages actors to engage in it.

“This meeting is a long-awaited day because it is a heavy and delicate mission to create a regulatory framework for HRDs,” said the consultant Marius TONTASSE.

He recalled the various exploratory missions to other actors to submit an original proposal that would bring Togo into the orbit of human rights defenders.

A next meeting with the various stakeholders is planned to validate the work of the consultant.

It should be noted that countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali already have a law for HRDs in line with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which states that “human rights defenders must be supported and protected in their work”.

For information, the project for the elaboration of the draft law on the promotion and protection of HRDs benefited from the financial support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Yempale Lamboni

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