Thérèse DONU, TOGO

Thérèse Donou from Togo

Thérèse Donou from Togo

“Even today, few women who are victims of physical and moral violence and torture can properly access justice”

Ms. Thérèse Donu has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Law and a Master’s Degree in Environmental, International and Comparative Law. She is a lawyer at the Togo Bar and has worked extensively on the rights of women and people who identify as LGBT. Witnessing cases of abuse and unjust accusations during police custody and detention growing up, Thérèse has a lifelong passion for human rights.

The challenge: Same-sex activity is illegal in Togo, resulting in widespread discrimination in all areas of society. Furthermore, within the criminal justice system LGBT persons and women are often at high risk of physical, sexual or psychological abuse. Thérèse strives to combat gender inequality and discrimination based on sexual orientation within the justice system. Specifically, Thérèse aims to assist two groups who are particularly vulnerable within the criminal justice system: sex workers and LGBT individuals who, because of their professions or sexual orientation, are considered as offenders of justice and are victims of discrimination.

Project: Justice For All

The Justice For All project aims to guarantee the equality of all citizens before the law and before the courts by teaching people about their rights and training justice actors, and civil society representatives.  There are several dimensions of Thérèse’s project: the first is to raise awareness among the population about equality rights and to reduce discrimination against LGBT persons and sex workers through radio campaigns and training workshops. The second is to improve access to justice for the target groups by providing legal representation to victims and organizing volunteers to collect cases of torture at the earliest stage of legal proceedings. Lastly, Thérèse aims to ensure that in the future, prisons are built and maintained with respect for the basic rules of hygiene for women prisoners.