Togo

The Togolese government has increased assistance to the private press to 350 million CFA francs this year from 75 million CFA francs in 2008. The government said on Thursday the assistance would help the press improve performance through several components, namely training and equipment.

For years, the Togolese government and its NGO partners have been trying to convince women who perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) to trade in their knives for microcredit loans and agricultural equipment. Despite a 10-year-old law in Togo that criminalises FGM/C some ethnic groups in Togo still report clandestine cuttings.

Parents, police and even judges are hesitant to press charges against human-traffickers because of fear of punishment, concern for the community and confusion about Togo’s 2005 anti-trafficking law, according to an NGO analysis of the law. Any abuse of power that leads to a child’s migration and exploitation constitutes trafficking, according to the 2000 UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

A private sector-employment agency in Togo that trains, places and advocates for domestic workers said it is trying to improve notoriously abusive work conditions for domestic workers. In October 2007, the Togolese government classified domestic work as one of the worst forms of labour, making it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to be employed as domestic workers.

The Togolese cabinet has presented a bill that will abolish capital penalty in a nation plagued with human rights violations. Human rights groups are delighted by the news.On 10 December, the symbolic day of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Togolese government presented a bill that will abolish the death penalty in the country, if approved of by the Lomé parliament.

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