Working together to strengthen human rights in Western Africa
Human rights activists from Western Africa and German Ambassadors from the area met in Togo for a regional human rights seminar from 26 to 28 November. With Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning participants discussed how to improve human rights work in the area.
Löning with the National Human Rights Commission
The human rights seminar, organized by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, focused above all on the current human rights situation and the fight against female genital mutilation, but there was also a lively discussion of other topics such as freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and dealing with periods of political transformation between embassy staff and representatives from non governmental organizations. One important goal of the seminar was to create better regional networks for the human rights defenders who are especially dedicated to promoting human rights in their countries.
Löning with Prime Minister Kwesi Ahoomey‑Zunu and Ambassador Weiß
On his visit to Togo, Human Rights Commissioner Löning also held extensive talks with government representatives, meeting, for example, with the Ministers for foreign affairs, women’s issues and human rights. His talks with Prime Minister Kwesi Ahoomey Zunu focused on the human rights challenges facing Togo. The Prime Minister emphasized that his government was committed to making progress and that help from Germany was welcome. The Minister responsible for women’s issues expressed thanks for Germany’s support in fighting female genital mutilation, saying that the practice is now considered to be almost completely abolished.
Löning at Togo’s biggest prison
In talks with the opposition and representatives from civil society, Löning was able to get a more complete picture of the human rights situation in Togo. He gathered information firsthand by visiting the country’s largest prison. During his tour of the facility, Togo’s justice minister spoke openly with Human Rights Commissioner Löning about problems such as the prison’s chronic overcrowding. In his many encounters and constructive discussion in Togo, an awareness for the importance of human rights issues in politics and society was clear.
The regional human rights seminar is the third of its kind. In November 2011, human rights defenders from Northern Africa and the Middle East had met in Tunis. In December 2011 in Buenos Aires, participants from South America had met to discuss human rights work.
Last updated 28.11.2012