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Rights Team to Inquire into Violations in Togo

UN Rights Team to Inquire into Human Rights Violations in Togo

New York, Jun 10 2005 2:00PM

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is sending a fact-finding team to Togo next week to investigate allegations of rights violations in the wake of the West African country's recent elections. Ms. Arbour has appointed human rights expert Doudou Diene to head the mission, which is expected to arrive in Togo on 13 June and stay there for two weeks, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today.

His team will comprise human rights officers and a forensic expert to assess the issues arising from the conduct of the elections, verify reports of alleged violations and compile information on the perpetrators.

The team will hold discussions with Government officials and representatives of civil society, as well as with those who allege that their rights have been violated and with their witnesses, including refugees in neighbouring Ghana and Benin, OHCHR said. Shortly after returning to Geneva, the team will report its findings and recommendations to the High Commissioner.

Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that the number of refugees fleeing to Benin from Togo continues to rise, with the latest wave describing abductions, disappearances and security force crackdowns in the areas where voters are suspected of having favoured the opposition in the elections.

Benin is hosting 21, 641 refugees, bringing the total in Benin and Ghana to 36,809, compared to 35,743 last Friday, UNHCR said. The number in Ghana has remained at 15,168 for the last two weeks, it adds.

Most refugees are living with friends and families and UNHCR said it has been trucking plastic sheeting and other-non-food items for a further 2,500 people and delivered another 2,000 mosquito nets. Some 8,000 refugees are in the Come and Agame/Lokossa camps, the agency says.

ENDS

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