Togo rights praised

11/12/2007
Togo rights praised

A United Nations (UN) official has hailed Togo's progress in the field of human rights in the wake of recent general elections, adding that the gains still needed to be built on.

"There is change for the better, a new dynamic in this country, if we take as a barometer the conduct of the legislative elections on October 14," the country representative of the UN human rights commissioner, Olatokunbo Ige, said on national television.For the first time in 17 years all the opposition parties took part in the election, including long-exiled opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio's Union of Forces for Change (UFC).

Togo was plunged into violent political crisis in 2005 on the death of Pres Gnassingbe Eyadema after 38 years in power, amid the succession of his son Faure Gnassingbe as president.

Strong international pressure helped to put the country on course to democracy, with the October elections won by Gnassingbe's Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) hailed as free and fair by foreign observers.

"All the gains achieved in these recent times need to be strengthened and consolidated," Ige said on Monday.

Last month the European Union's representative to Togo said the bloc had resumed "full" relations with the west African country, 14 years after ties and aid were suspended amid widespread electoral violence under Eyadema's rule.

The European Union (EU) resumed aid to Togo in the form of 40 million euros for development and 26 million for institutional projects and urban renewal.

The break with the EU also led the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to scale down their operations in Togo, but a joint team from both institutions visited the country last month, noting progress especially in the management of public funds.

 

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