ECOWAS: Togo 2017 Internet shutdown was illegal

According to a news report, the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice has ruled that the September 2017 Internet shutdown, ordered by the Togolese government during protests, was illegal and violated the applicants’ right to freedom of expression. The lawsuit filed by Amnesty International (AI) Togo and others, challenged the Internet shutdown decision of the government of Togo, which took place 5–10 September and again 19-21 September 2017. In addition, in 2019, Access Now led a coalition of eight human rights organisations which submitted a ‘friends of the court’ (amici curiae) brief in the lawsuit filed by AI Togo and other applicants. The aim of the brief was to further support the case of the applicants. Commenting on the ruling, Access Now General Counsel Peter Micek said ‘Digital rights are human rights, the court has declared, and Togo’s government must meet its commitments to protect human rights, online as offline.’