The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Togo to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Togo's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at http://www.state.gov.
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government's main priorities are to promote democracy, good governance, and human rights in Togo. The U.S. Government encourages free and fair municipal elections in 2010, legislative elections in 2012, and a free and fair presidential election in 2015 through support for the development of functional, responsible, democratic political parties and better collaboration among the parties, especially regarding dispute resolution and compromise. Additional important U.S. priorities are the development of an independent civil society, a reduction in official corruption, building the capacity of the National Assembly, and combating child labor.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The U.S. Government continues to play an influential role in efforts to promote free and fair elections. The U.S. Ambassador collaborates closely with other diplomatic missions in the country to deliver a unified message on the importance of organizing peaceful and credible elections. In support of the 2010 presidential election, the U.S. Government provided grants to train national election observers and build the capacity of the political parties, and held a series of book debates on election-related issues. The mission designed and funded locally produced radio and television ads and developed a brochure explaining the voting process.
The U.S. Ambassador and other U.S. officials meet regularly with members of the government, opposition, and civil society to advocate for democracy and human rights goals. They also attend events organized by NGOs to support local initiatives on a wide range of topics including press freedom, women's rights, trafficking in persons, government reforms, corruption, and transparency.
The United States has provided extensive training to local journalists including seminars on the role of a free press in a democracy, the fundamentals of journalism, and ethics and professionalism. Programs on election reporting were conducted prior to the 2010 presidential election.
The United States maintains an American Corner at the University of Lomé. Programs at the American Corner promote democratic values and an understanding of U.S. society and culture to university students and faculty, the media, and members of civil society organizations. Guest speaker programs, book debates, video conferences, and seminars focus on topics such as women's rights, transparency and good governance, media freedom, the role of the military in a democracy, and the rights of minority groups. Book debates have discussed topics such as negotiation and compromise in a political context.
The United States promotes human rights and democratic civic participation. Efforts include work with various segments of civil society on projects ranging from the efficiency and independence of the judicial system to promoting civic education and women's rights, particularly in rural areas. An on-going U.S.-funded project promotes the rights of persons with disabilities. The U.S. Government also supports a program to combat the worst forms of child labor. U.S. officials meet regularly with the program's local administrator and attend meetings of NGOs, who are working to develop a common strategy to combat child trafficking and labor.