Aug 17, 2021

UNPO calls for the release of Western Togoland leaders

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation expresses serious concern over the recent arrest and detainment of George Nyakpo, Secretary of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF). George Nyakpo was recently detained by Ghana’s National Security Forces without formal charge, presumed to be in relation to activities supporting Western Togoland independence. The detainment follows a wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions orchestrated by Ghana authorities in recent years against the Homeland Study Group Foundation leadership for their movement’s activities pursuing self-determination for the people of Western Togoloand.

The improper targeting of political activists with arbitrary arrests and detainment, often without charge, has been a frequent tactic of Ghana in it’s efforts to repress human rights defenders and political opponents. Earlier this month Charles Kudzordzie, leader of the HSGF, was similarly arrested without charge, though has since been released on bail upon health grounds. The UNPO strongly condemns Ghana in it’s efforts to criminalize self-determination movements and silence activists through short-term arrests without charges.

Although other political groups in the Western Togoland region have resorted to violent means to attain independence, the Homeland Study Group Foundation have consistently detached themselves from these groups and categorically deny any involvement with them.

The family of George Nyakpo and the chairman of the HSGF are calling on the international community to assist in the release of the political leader, as well as the many other Western Togolanders currently arbitrarily detained without bail following the authorities repression campaign against HSGF and it’s supporters.

The UNPO is deeply concerned over Ghana’s political clampdown on Western Togoland human rights activists and reiterates its basic obligations under international law regarding the right to liberty and to a fair trial, as fully enumerated in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Luanda Guidelines on Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa. In particular, the UNPO highlights the importance of Article 4, which provides that all persons arrested have the right to be informed of the reasons for their arrest and any charges against them. The Ghanian government must diligently comply with these standards and ensure all political detainees are afforded due process pursuant to the law.