Togo: information diffusion on the democratic situation in the country among Canadian public
in collaboration with the Collective for Democracy in Togo (CDT), the Canadian Togolese Community (CTC) and the Togolese Diaspora for Democracy (DIASTODE).
Ruled by the military regime of President Eyadema since 1967, Togo has never known a free, transparent and peaceful electoral process. The first phase of this project took place in the upcoming elections of June 1998 and aimed to send an observer of the electoral process in Togo and to educate the Canadian public on the state of democracy in the country.
The second phase of the project followed the June 1998 election, during which the regime made a coup to retain power, interrupting the counting of ballots and announcing the victory of General Eyadema with 52% of the votes, contrary to trends up here in the polls that foreshadowed a victory of the opposition. The situation of human rights deteriorated rapidly in the country and the regime’s coup raised very few waves in the international community.
In order to improve respect of human rights in Togo and promote a process of democratization of the country, the project aimed to:
- Educate Canadian and Quebecers decision makers, NGOs, the media, the Togolese diaspora and the general public on the situation of human rights and democracy in Togo;
- Support the democratization process in Togo;
- To monitor the electoral process and make an evaluation for future action;
- Strengthen the international information network on Togo by consolidating linkages with other organizations;
- Facilitate the flow of information on Togo, among others by setting up a website.
This project was able to revitalize the Togolese diaspora in Canada wishing change in the country. A delegate was sent as an observer of the electoral process in Togo during the month of June 1998.
During the month of October, Gilchrist Olympio, a Togolese participant to the democratic movement, made a tour by the regions of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto for lectures on elections in Africa. Several NGOs and members of the Togolese community attended those events. This tour allowed the diffusion of information on the state of human rights in Togo and about the concerns of the Togolese diaspora concerning the country's democratization.
Finally, in order to allow a better knowledge and understanding of the political situation in Togo, a website (http://www.diastode.org/) gathering information from different networks was put online at the beginning of 1999.