This project supports children
in gaining access to their fundamental rights. A particular aim is directed towards the protection and rehabilitation of children who are persecuted for witchcraft. (read more on our campaign "Children are not witches!")
These children receive support in form of legal advice, protection and basic care. They are then supported in their social and educational or professional reintegration. Further measures strengthen the juvenile justice system in Togo with a focus on the application of resocialization programs.
Many children living and/or working in the streets in Togo are easily exploited, abused or captured by traffickers who take children accross the borders all the way to Nigeria so that they work as cheap or even unpaid labor forces on the fields or in households. In addition, children on the streets are deprived of their fundamental rights, such as access to sufficient and balanced meals, proper sanitation, medical care, education, shelter and protection. On their daily search for food, they start begging or are tempted to steel here and there. If caught, they end up in police custody or in jail, where they face inhumane detention conditions and are often humiliated. However, due to prejudice and lacking legal assistance, some children are also detained inoccently. Most of the times, their employers accuse them of theft as a way to avoid paying their salary.
In 2007, Togo passed a modern legislative act aimed at the protection of children. Unfortunately, decrees necessary to put it into practice have not yet been issued. And very few representatives of the police or legal authorities have knowledge of the new regulations.
Therefore, in many prisons and police stations in Togo, children are detained together with adults, where they are easily abused or ill-treated by the latter. The detention cells are often crowded, badly ventilated and rarely have appropriate sanitary facilities. Diseases spread easily. There are no sufficient meals, medical care, psycho-social support or educational offers for children deprived of liberty.
After delayed public trials, in which the protection of the children’s identities is disregarded, the accused children often receive inappropriately high sentences. Existing prejudices throughout the population lead to great difficulties when it comes to their reintegration after liberation.
Similarly precarious are the situations, in which children have become victims to criminal offences, have been neglected or are particularly at risk. Usually, the police just hands them over to state-run social services. Due to missing human resources and financial possibilities, those are often incapable to adequately take care of and accompany these children.
Further, only few cases of violent or sexual offences upon children are reported to the police. The perpetrators rarely receive punishment due to extra-judicial settlements. Those usually ignore the interests of the child and lead to additional traumatization.
The legal situation and the future prospects of children and adolescents who are in conflict with the law, who have become victims of violence or neglect, have improved in the Central region and in the region of Kara in Togo. In particular:
Project costs: € 680,160
Cover photo: Minors in police custody are waiting for their trial. No child shall be deprived of liberty, Art. 37 UN-CRC, but shall be properly treated in cases of conflicts with the law, Art. 40 UN-CRC. © CREUSET-Togo
Kinderrechte Afrika e. V.
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