Powered by TNTSearch

Togo : Civic space has been backsliding for the past two years

On the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the restrictions on demonstrations in Togo, Tournons La Page, Civicus and nine West African organizations call on the Togolese government to end restrictions on the right to protest and to guarantee without exception the freedoms of assembly, expression, opinion and the press. For the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has been the pretext for massive restrictions on these collective rights by the Togolese government.

The government has restricted freedom of movement and above all refused any public protest under the pretext of health measures in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, even though since the end of January, less than 50 cases per day have been reported and less than 10 since February. However, freedom of assembly and demonstration is enshrined in article 30 of the Togolese constitution.

For two years now, since March 16, 2020, gatherings of more than 100 people have been prohibited due to the establishment of a state of health emergency. This measure was tightened on July 3, 2020, when the National Assembly adopted an ordinance prohibiting all gatherings of more than 15 people, other than professional gatherings, on the public highway or in a public place. In September 2021, the state of emergency was renewed for one year.

"The freedoms of assembly and association guaranteed by the adoption in 2017 of the "Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly" by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the recognition of the dignity of persons, inalienable rights and the rule of law have been violated for several years with impunity by the Togolese government," said David Dosseh, coordinator of Tournons La Page Togo.

In addition to the systematic bans on demonstrations, there is a harmful climate for human rights in general. The past two years have been marked by the growing number of arbitrarily detained political prisoners and the criminalization of press offenses in the 2020 Press Code. Arbitrary arrests and detentions of human rights activists, journalists, and political opponents do not date back to the 2020 demonstration restrictions and are very common in Togo. Recently, two journalists, Ferdinand Ayité and Joel Egah, were arbitrarily detained for approximately 20 days for comments critical of the government, and human rights activist Isidore Kouwonou was placed under judicial review in December 2021. In early 2022, five activists from the opposition Pan-African National Party (PNP) were arrested.

Tournons La Page, Civicus and 6 West African organizations call on the Togolese authorities to end, without delay, the drastic and illegitimate restrictions on the freedom of protest, to guarantee without exception the freedom of expression, opinion and press and to release the political detainees in Togo.



David Dosseh

National Coordinator, Tournons La Page Togo


+228 90 32 82 76


David Kode

Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, CIVICUS



+27 73 775 86 49


Signatory organizations : 

  1. Mauritanian Association for the Promotion of Girls' Education (AMPEF)
  2. Civicus
  3. Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Benin (CDDH-Benin)
  4. Burkinabe Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CBDDH)
  5. Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CIDDH)
  6. Malian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders
  7. Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CTDDH)
  8. Coordination des Organisations de Défense des Droits Humains - Guinée (CODDH)
  9. Media Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IM2DH)
  10. Nigerian Network of Human Rights Defenders (RNDDH)