By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Aug 30, GNA – The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a leading Regional Peacebuilding organization, has urged the international community to put an eye on Togo, in order to prevent the ongoing unrest from degenerating into a conflict situation.
Mr Chukuemeka B. Eze, the Executive Director of WANEP, said the international community should be concerned about Togo because when the state fails to protect its citizens under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm, which all countries of the world have assented to, it was the responsibility of the international community to apply that R2P Act to Togo.
The R2P is a global political commitment which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a series of protests in Togo by the opposition, with a call for the country to return to the use of the 1992 constitution which imposes limits on presidential terms.
Mr Eze made the appeal on Wednesday in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on the sideline of a roundtable on “Reflection on Security Series”.
The roundtable was organised by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) on the Topic: “Should ECOWAS Expand? Mechanisms, Implications, Options and Challenges for Regional Integration.”
Mr Eze noted that there were fundamental human rights that needed to be observed in Togo; declaring that “the first thing is the freedom of expression which is very important”.
“The people of Togo needs to be given that liberty to express either their frustrations or their believe in the government. It is the duty that the government should allow such to happen.
“On the other part, I think it is also important that ECOWAS begins to give ears to some of these agitations. We have experienced it in Burkina Faso, we have experienced it in The Gambia and we are now experiencing it in Togo,” he added.
The Executive Director said it was high time that the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance was reviewed to accommodate term limits and tenure of offices of Presidents and Governments in West Africa; adding that “because we have consistently seen that this is a source of violence. So why do we want to continue to go in this direction”.
He said it was now only Togo that was opposing that review of the democracy and good governance protocol.
He said formally, The Gambia used to oppose it; “but I don’t think they are still opposing. So we have 13 countries in West Africa out of 15 that have agreed that this protocol needs to be reviewed”.
Mr Eze noted that it was high time that ECOWAS reviewed the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
WANEP is a leading Regional Peacebuilding organization founded in 1998 in response to civil wars that plagued West Africa in the 1990s.
Over the years, WANEP has succeeded in establishing strong national networks in every Member State of ECOWAS with over 500 member organizations across West Africa.
WANEP places special focus on collaborative approaches to conflict prevention, and peacebuilding, working with diverse actors from civil society, governments, intergovernmental bodies, women groups and other partners in a bid to establish a platform for dialogue, experience sharing and learning, thereby complementing efforts at ensuring sustainable peace and development in West Africa and beyond.