UN rights experts appeal for measures to ensure free presidential election in Togo


(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 21 April (UN Information Service) - Ambeyi Ligabo, the Special Rapporteurs of the Commission on Human Rights on freedom of opinion and expression, and Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, express deep concern over the situation in relation to the organization of the Presidential elections scheduled for 24 April in Togo. In particular, information received seems to indicate that violent clashes during demonstrations organized by sympathizers of the various parties in the election over the last few days have resulted in a number of casualties. A number of demonstrators have reportedly been arrested.

Reports also indicate that independent media representatives have been prevented from covering the electoral campaign. In addition, numerous allegations have reached the Special Rapporteurs indicating that irregularities have taken place in the context of the organization of the elections.

The Special Rapporteurs recall that it is the responsibility of the Government to organize the electoral process in conformity with international rules and principles governing the organization of elections. In this respect, the Special Rapporteurs invite the Government to take all the necessary measures to ensure the holding of free, transparent and credible elections within the framework of a democratic State.

The Special Rapporteurs urge all the parties in the elections to take all the necessary measures to avoid a further deterioration of the situation during, or in the wake of, the elections.