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New decree mandates NGOs to align their activities to governmental development priorities

Association

New decree mandates NGOs to align their activities to governmental development priorities

On 5th January 2022, following a joint report by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Payadowa Boukpessi, and the Minister of Development Planning and Cooperation, the Council of Ministers approved decree 2022-002/PR, regulating the conditions of cooperation between Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the Government. The decree, which will come into force in April 2023, mandates NGOs to align their activities to governmental development priorities. At the risk of suspension, NGOs will be obligated to notify prefects, mayors and regional directors of Development Planning of their activities. Circular note 0079 of 6th April 2022 further instructs the latter decentralised entities to take all appropriate measures to ensure that NGOs' activities align with governmental criteria. Transitional measures were put in place for a period of one year whereafter NGOs must comply with the new regulations. 

Peaceful Assembly

Public meeting banned 

On 24th June 2022, Togo's Minister of Security, General Yark Damehame, banned a public meeting, planned for 25th June 2022 in Lomé by opposition group La Dynamique Monseigneur Kpodzro (DMK), on grounds of security concerns. DMK, which consists of seven opposition parties and six civil society groups, planned to protest that day against the high cost of living, impunity and bad governance. The Minister of Security said in a statement that "the organisation of such a demonstration in a currently very worrying sub-regional and national security context (...) is likely to compromise efforts to preserve public order and national security". 

According to news reports, this has been the first time authorities in Togo have used security grounds to ban a public meeting or protest. In June 2022, a state of emergency was declared in the northern region of Savanes, more than 500 km away from Togo's capital Lomé, for a period of three months following two jihadist terrorist attacks. In the past two years, authorities often used the health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic as grounds to ban public meetings and protests.