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To: "SVD webmaster SVD" <webmaster@svdcuria.org>
Date: 23 May 2005, 04:32:50 PM
Subject: news

Togo elections a sham, negotiations needed say ecumenical organizations

ELECTIONS A SHAM SAY ECUMENICAL PARTNERS OF TOGO CHURCHES

ix ecumenical bodies, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), have appealed to the African Union and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to bring the government of Togo and opposition parties to the negotiating table so that they may together seek a solution to the current crisis.

The ecumenical appeal was made in an 18 May joint statement that emphasized that the election was "a sham", and that its results "in no way legitimize the power in place".

The statement insisted that any viable solution to the crisis must rapidly remedy the situation of insecurity and intimidation of the population, which includes human rights violations, as well as restore a strict respect of democratic principles.

It also highlighted that "once again, it is the people of Togo who are paying the heaviest tribute to the situation left by the sham of the recent elections, with 20,000 refugees in neighbouring Bénin and Ghana and several hundred dead".

Violence erupted in Togo following presidential elections on 24 April and the announcement that Faure Gnassingbe, the son of former president General Gnassingbe Eyadéma, had been elected to succeed his father as president.

The statement was the third to be issued within the space of a month by an ecumenical group invited by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Togo, the Catholic Church and the Methodist Church of Togo to visit the country from 28 March to 3 April.

In its first statement at the end of its visit, the delegation of ecumenical partners of the Togolese churches signalled the advisability of postponing the elections. A second, 28 April, statement testified that the elections were "hastily organized" in a manner that prevented people from registering on the electoral lists.

All three joint statements - of 2 and 28 April and 18 May - were signed by the Bremen Mission, Communauté d'Eglises en Mission (CEVAA), Service Protestant de Mission (DEFAP), Fédération Protestante de France, World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
media@wcc-coe.org