- The UN is sending a fact-finding team to Togo this week to investigate the many allegations of rights violations before and after the rigged elections in the country. Togolese refugees have reported on abductions, disappearances and torture committed by Togo's ill-reputed government security forces.
The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, on Friday announced she would be sending a fact-finding team to Togo this week to investigate the growing number of reports regarding rights violations committed by the government and the armed forces.
Ms Arbour has appointed human rights expert Doudou Diene to head the mission, which is expected to arrive in Togo today and stay there for two weeks, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said. In Togo, Mr Diene is to inquire into recent human rights violations in the country, connected to the rigged elections last month.
His team was said to comprise human rights officers and a forensic expert to assess the issues arising from the conduct of the elections, verify reports of alleged violations and compile information on the perpetrators, according to Ms Arbour.
The team further was to hold discussions with officials currently ruling in Togo and representatives of civil society, as well as with those who allege that their rights have been violated and with their witnesses, including refugees in neighbouring Ghana and Benin, OHCHR said. Shortly after returning to Geneva, the team was to report its findings and recommendations to the Ms Arbour.
Meanwhile, UN refugee agency UNHCR reports that the number of refugees fleeing to Benin from Togo continues to rise, with the latest wave describing abductions, disappearances and security force crackdowns in the areas where voters are suspected of having favoured the opposition in the elections.
There are rising fears that the "disappeared" have been massacred by Togolese security forces, as has happened during several election campaign in the country's recent history. Grass-root opposition activists have in particular been targeted and many claim to have been beaten and tortured. The number of "disappeared" among the opposition is rising each day.
Neighbouring Benin is now hosting 21,641 Togolese refugees, according to UNHCR's latest update. This brings the total in Benin and Ghana to 36,809, compared to 35,743 last Friday, UNHCR said. Most of the new arrivals in Benin were politically active young men. The number in Ghana had remained at 15,168 for the last two weeks, the UN agency adds.
Most refugees are living with friends and families and UNHCR said it has been trucking plastic sheeting and other-non-food items for a further 2,500 people and delivered another 2,000 mosquito nets. Some 8,000 refugees are in the Come and Agame/Lokossa camps, the agency reports.
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