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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 300kWORD 57k
15.1.2019
PE631.664v01-00
 
B8-0068/2019

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Togo (2019/2518(RSP))


Louis Michel, Nedzhmi Ali, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Carolina Punset, Jozo Radoš, Marietje Schaake, Jasenko Selimovic, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Mirja Vehkaperä, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Togo (2019/2518(RSP))  
B8‑0068/2019

The European Parliament,

-having regard its previous resolutions on Togo,

-having regard to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Togo – ACHPR/Res. 397 (LXII) 2018, adopted at the 62nd Ordinary Session, from 25 April to 9 May 2018,

-having regard to the statement on the Human Rights Situation in Togo, issued by FIDH at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), from 25 April to 9 May 2018,

-having regard to the EU Annual Reports on Human Rights and Democratisation (country reports), 2017 on Togo:

-having regard to the final communiqué of the 27 June 2018 session of the Inter-Togolese Dialogue, issued by the Presidents of the Republics of Ghana and Guinea in their capacity as facilitators mandated by the ECOWAS,

-having regard to the report issued by the Togolese League for Human Rights (LTDH) in July 2018,

-having regard to the joint declaration by the Embassies of Germany, the USA and France, the Delegation of the European Union and the Coordination of the System of the United Nations in Togo (the G5) as of 13 November 2018,

-having regard to the communiqué of the 19th session of Togo-EU political dialogue, held in Lomé on 20 November 2018,

-having regards, to the Preliminary Statement of African Union Election Observation Mission to the Legislative Elections of 20 December 2018 in the Togolese Republic, 21 December 2018,

-having regards to the outcome of the 22nd ECOWAS-EU Political Dialogue Meeting

-having regards to the universal declaration of Human Rights

-having regard to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, September 2007 and Guidelines for the Policing of Assemblies by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa, March 2017,

-having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, January 2007,

-having regard to the minutes of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Togo of 27 October 2017,

-having regard to the African charter on human and peoples’ rights of 1981

-having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement

-Having regard to Article 9 of the Togolese Electoral Code,

A.whereas the parliamentary elections held in Togo on 20 December 2018, in compliance with the roadmap set up on 31 July 2018 by the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of States and Governments; whereas these elections were considered free and transparent by ECOWAS and the African Union, and took place in a climate of peace and security;

B.whereas these elections were conducted within a political context characterised by the decision of a significant part of the Togolese opposition not to join the instances responsible for the holding of the electoral process (i.e. the Independent National Electoral Commission and its branches) and not to participate in the election polls despite the mediation efforts engaged by ECOWAS as well as measures taken by the Togolese government to guarantee inclusive, reliable, transparent and credible elections;

C.whereas the decision of a part of the opposition not to take part in the legislative elections would be motivated by divergences relating to the updating of a consensual updating of the voter roll and to the election date though it had been fixed by the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of States and Governments; an electoral calendar accepted by all, the timing and adoption of institutional and constitutional reforms and constituency delimitation;

D.whereas despite the political tension perceived and the divergent views of the actors, 12 political parties representing different political sensitivities and 18 independent candidates took part in the elections and a total of 856 candidatures were registered;

E.whereas according to the final results proclaimed by the Constitutional Court, the ruling parties, despite a loss of seats, will maintain a majority, and whereas the 59,69% turnout of the elections was lower that at previous elections;

F.whereas Togo has been affected by massive protests between August 2017 and 2018 to demand the immediate resignation of President Faure Gnassingbé and a constitutional reform, including a two-term limit for presidents as well as the re-introduction to the 1992 constitution, along with the organization of a referendum on constitutional amendments;

G.whereas since 2012, collaboration between civil society actors and government institutions has substantially improved as a result of the existence of formal channels through which civil society actors can engage the government and particularly due to the initiative to have civil society actors represented in the committees in charge of the implementation of various sectoral government policies;

 

H.whereas the human rights situation in Togo has deteriorated since 2017, where mass anti-government rallies have repeatedly been held across the country; whereas these protests were first marked by serious violence, exactions and other abuses against citizens refusing to take part in the demonstrations, as well as attacks and aggressions against forces of order,; occasionally led to a violent reaction of security forces (police and military), while observers reported the presence of armed pro-government militias and there were worrying reports of intimidation and ill-treatment of detainees;

I.whereas at the initiative of the Togolese government, Human Rights organisations are now included in the observation and monitoring of demonstrations;

J.whereas according to the Togolese League of Human Rights (LTDH), the very own reports of the opposition and all the investigations conducted, the demonstrations between August 19 2017 and July 20 2018 during demonstrations against the government led to the death of 14 people, including two soldiers decapitated in Sokodé, around a hundred wounded including civils and elements of the security and defence forces; There are currently only 43 persons still detained for facts of violence, exactions, destructions and vandalizing perpetrated during the demonstrations;

K.whereas following serious violence perpetrated by the opposition in Mango and in Sokodé, aound a hundred people found refuge in Ghana, mainly due to familial and parental links between communities living in border areas; whereas Togolese authorities have asked the ECOAS Commission to take initiatives to meet, in coordination with Ghanaian authorities, the political actors voluntarily exiled out of the country in order to take appropriate security, confidence and protection measures to encourage their return and participation in the political life;

L.whereas as tension rose, the EU, together with the locally represented DE, FR, USA and UN, issued three joint local statements (22/9, 20/10 and 7/11, 2017) deploring the violence and encouraging dialogue;

M.whereas on 31 July the 53rd ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Governments, after mediation by and Guinea’s Presidents, Nana Akufo-Addo and Alpha Condé, put forward a roadmap, and called on all political actors and the government to work to adopt the two-turn election model for Presidential elections, reduce to two the maximum number of presidential mandates, recompose the Constitutional Court, set a maximum number of terms for its members and reform the electoral process; whereas these recommendations were welcomed by the government and opposition of Togo;

N.whereas at the end of this summit of 31 July 2018, following the decisions taken, a number of measures have been undertaken, including: a meeting between the ECOWAS President and the stakeholders from 8 until 10 August; the first meeting of the monitoring committee with the stakeholders from 10 until 11 August; the second meeting of the monitoring committee with the stakeholders on 23 September; whereas during this last meeting of the monitoring committee, the chronogram leading to legislative elections has been set and recruitments of electoral experts, electoral observers and experts auditing the electoral file have been planned;

O.whereas during the recruitment process of the Independent National Electoral Commission and despite the withdrawal of the UFC, one the parties member of the parliamentary opposition, at the C14 request, the C14 coalition refused to take an oath before the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the whole census process should be resumed and accompanied by a new chronogram; that the said coalition also refused to participate in the census, thereby putting itself on the sidelines of the elections and confirming its decision to boycott the entire electoral process; that as of the end of November, the C14 resumed demonstrations in some cities and localities of Togo;

P.whereas according to the ECOWAS Facilitation report on the Togolese Crisis issued at the 54th ordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of States and Governments, meeting in Abudja on 22 December 2018, that the expert responsible for the constitutional reforms has completed its work and that its report has been circulated to all stakeholders; that the Togolese Government has adopted at the Council of Ministers of 9 November 2018 a bill amending certain articles of the Constitution; that this bill adopted by the National Assembly's Committee on the Laws is strictly in accordance with the requests included in the road map; that according to the ECOWAS Facilitation Report on the Togolese crisis, the debates held in the National Assembly did not allow the adoption of the draft constitutional reforms by a qualified majority because the Coalition of the opposition (C14) suspended its participation in the debates; that this constitutional reform project will be a priority of the new National Assembly;

Q.whereas at the 54th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of States and Governments of 22 December 2018, the Conference noted with satisfaction the progress made; welcomed the effective holding of free and transparent parliamentary elections under conditions of peace and security in accordance with the roadmap adopted on 31 July 2018; and strongly regretted the decision of the Coalition of 14 opposition political parties not to participate in the parliamentary elections despite the considerable efforts made by the Facilitators to promote inclusive elections with equal participation of all CENI actors;

R.whereas ahead of the elections, the government announced the establishment of a special security force made of 8000 police officers to maintain peace and ensure the security of people and goods throughout the country, ahead, during, and after the legislative elections, as well as to secure political rallies, polling stations, electoral material, and political figures;

S.whereas the Embassies of Germany, the USA and France, the Delegation of the European Union and the Coordination of the System of the United Nations in Togo (the G5) as of 13 November 2018 called on the Coalition of 14 opposition parties (C14) of Togo to encourage their supporters to register as voters, in line with the recommendations made by the ECOWAS, for the December 2018 elections to be fair, transparent, and credible; whereas the opposition called for 10 days of protest in the run-up to the vote but the government banned the action on security grounds;

T.Considering that, according to the report of the Facilitators of the Inter-Togolese Political Dialogue of ECOWAS, as part of the confidence and appeasement measures taken, the leaders and others involved in the fires in the Lomé and Kara markets have all benefited from the lifting of the judicial controls to which they were subject and from the provisional release with a view to easing them; that at the request of the Facilitators of the demonstrators have benefited from measures of clemency of the courts or the presidential pardon;

U.whereas, according to recent reports from the World Bank, UNDP and bilateral and international institutions, and despite the economic, democratic and social progress, poverty remains one of  the eminent problems in Togo and keeps the country from fulfilling its full potential; that Togo, ranked among the countries with a low level of human development, has fallen by one point compared to the ranking of the year 2016 and is ranked 22nd in the region of sub-Saharan Africa; according to the Doing Business report of the World Bank of November 9, 2018, Togo is among the 10 economies that have registered the most improvements in at least 3 regulatory areas in 2017 and 2018;

V.whereas human rights organisations were critical of a new cybersecurity law passed on 07 December 2018, which “significantly restricts freedom of expression" with "vague terrorism and treason related provisions"; whereas these measures can be explained in particular by the growing insecurity in the sub-region and the necessity to protect civilian populations against acts of extremism and by the fight against terrorism in the area;

1.Welcomes the fact that, despite previous protests, the parliamentary elections of 20 December 2018 in the Togolese Republic took place in a calm atmosphere; regrets, however, that the inclusive nature of the electoral process has been mitigated by the boycott of the election of part of the opposition (Coalition C14);

 

2.Welcomes the progress achieved by the Togolese authorities in recent years in the field of legislation on fundamental rights and freedoms and encourages all Togolese political players and forces to work for the preservation of peace, stability and cohesion by abstaining, in particular, from committing any act likely to undermine efforts aimed at the full and complete normalization of sustainable political situation;

 

3.Underlines that at the 54th Ordinary Session of the Conference Michel of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on 22 December 2018, the Conference took note of the information provided by the Togolese Government concerning the draft constitutional reform and welcomes its commitment resolute to ensure the rapid adoption of constitutional reforms, giving priority to the parliamentary route for their implementation; that it has taken note of the will of the Togolese Government to organize local elections in 2019 and encourages all the players to contribute in order to favour open, inclusive and peaceful elections;

 

4.Recalls that Togo made a commitment under the Cotonou Agreement to respecting democracy, the rule of law and human rights principles, which include freedom of expression, assembly and access to the media, good governance and transparency in political office;

5.Calls on the Togolese Government to fully implement the recommendations made by the UA EOM contained in the preliminary statement of 21 December 2018, namely: to continue and intensify the efforts of openness to strengthen the climate of trust and confidence; appeasement among all players and components of Togolese society; to strengthen the inclusive approach in the adoption and implementation of constitutional, institutional and electoral reforms; give priority to creating an enabling environment for dialogue among political players in a permanent consultative framework;

 

6.Commends that despite previous protests legislative elections on 20 December 2018 in the Togolese Republic went on in a calm atmosphere; however, regrets that the inclusive nature of the electoral process was mitigated by the boycott of the election by a part of the opposition;

7.Calls on the Togolese government to continue and intensify efforts of openness aimed at ameliorating an atmosphere of confidence and appeasement between all the actors and components of the Togolese society;

8.Calls on the Togolese government to strengthen an inclusive approach in the adoption and application of constitutional, institutional and electoral reforms;

9.Calls on the Togolese government to give priority to the creation of a conducive environment for dialogue between political actors within the permanent consultative framework;

10.Encourages the opposition and civil society actors to actively stay engaged and seek constructive and non-violent solutions to work for a more democratic and constructive future for Togo;

11. Calls on Togolese political parties and civil society organisations to educate, sensitise and properly supervise their members, supporters and audiences, with a view to preventing any violent or otherwise reprehensible acts or remarks;

 

12. Calls on political actors to reinforce the permanent framework for political dialogue and to place the interest of national cohesion above all partisan considerations;

13. Condemns the continued excessive use of force from all sides in accordance with their international commitments;

14. Calls on the Government of Togo to guarantee its citizens’ human rights, notably their freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and internet freedom and to ensure that all those arrested during demonstrations are afforded the right to due process;

15.Welcomes the decision of the President of the Republic, Faure Ngassimbe of 3 January 2019, to have granted a presidential pardon to four hundred and fifty-four (454) detainees;

 

16. Urges the Togolese Government to guarantee, without undue restrictions, and in compliance with the laws and regulations in force the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully throughout the Togolese territory;

 

17.Calls on the international community to get more engaged to appease the political situation in the country, after the election;

18. Calls on international organisation, such as in particular ECOWAS, the AU and the UN to strive for a mediation process to ensure a proper inclusion of all democratic forces in order to ensure meaningful and needed democratic reforms,

19. Urges the Togolese authorities to take measures to reassure exiles and IDPs who have fled and to facilitate their return to their places of departure, in liaison with the relevant UN agency and non-governmental organizations; calls on the international community to support this process,

20. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the secretariat of ECOWAS and the AU, and the Government and Parliament of Togo.

 

Last updated: 15 January 2019Legal notice