- The Togolese cabinet has presented a bill that will abolish capital penalty in a nation plagued with human rights violations. Human rights groups are delighted by the news.
Yesterday, on 10 December, the symbolic day of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Togolese government presented a bill that will abolish the death penalty in the country, if approved of by the Lomé parliament.
The Togolese League of Human Rights (LTDH) today issued a statement, being thrilled by what it called "a historic step towards the abolition of the death penalty" in Togo. The League has urged President Faure Gnassingbé to adopt this measure since the unrests in 2005.
"The death penalty is seen as a humiliating, cruel and degrading punishment by the community of nations to which we belong that respect human rights," the LTDH statement said. It further recalled that Togo imposed a moratorium on the death penalty 30 years ago, but that during all these years, the punishment had remained alive in "the collective conscience of the Togolese.
LTDH now urged parliamentarians they would "have to decide soon on the abolition of the death penalty, to overcome divisions and prepare Togo for a safer future and greater respect for human rights by adopting the bill that will abolish the death penalty in Togo."
Togo under the President's predecessor and father, ex-President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, was plagued by gross human rights violations, including well-documented massacres of opposition followers and summary executions.
President Eyadéma's death lead to his son, President Gnassingbé, taking power in a coup, again leading to massive human rights violations and a number of deaths. Since 2005, however, Mr Eyadéma's government has engaged in dialogue with political opponents, civil society and donor nations, leading the West African country on a positive path towards more democracy.
While the LTDH says it is happy with the progress, the human rights body still believes there is a long road ahead. The League says it "will continue to engage with state and non-state actors to effectively contribute to the establishment of the rule of law in Togo."
In particular, the League is now working for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in accordance with an agreement signed with government in August 2006. The Commission is to look into the gross human rights violations committed by the Eyadéma regime, but also by opposition groups.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.