The Tocsin Association was founded in 1997. It works to promote human rights and the construction of a just peace in Burkina Faso and Africa, by building bridges between Burkinabes at home and abroad. Members of the Burkinabe diaspora often suffer from violence and human rights violations, both in their host country and when they return.
Objectives of the organisation include:
- To initiate and encourage all activity helping the integration and re-integration of Burkinabes from abroad.
- To encourage Burkinabes abroad to help in the development of Burkina Faso.
- To develop solidarity among its members.
- To serve as a point of contact between the government and Burkinabes abroad, without exclusion or prejudice.
Beyond these and in order to help build peace, Tocsin's overall goal sees real integration as being linked to the free movement of people and not of merchandise. It is in consequence of this that Tocsin has made the rights of foreigners and migrants one of its major work projects; with the management of migrants in the diverse states of West Africa depending on regional peace. For Tocsin, solidarity among peoples should take precedence over the solidarity of states.
- Humanitarian, social and economic reintegration assistance to Burkinabes returning from the Ivory Coast and victims of the crisis there. Financed by the EU, this project helped with the repatriation of around 4000 refugees.
- Annual peace caravans. Around 30 people take part in each caravan, which start in Burkina Faso and finish in one of its regional neighbours: Mali (2000 and 2005), Ghana (2001), Togo (2002), Benin (2003 and 2011), Niger (2004), Senegal (2006), Togo (2007), Ghana (2009) and, in the 2013 edition, the Ivory Coast. The caravans document people's lives, inform them of their rights and duties in host countries, hold discussions with the Burkinabe diplomatic missions about their problems, conduct research and hold exchanges with local authorities and human rights organisations.
- Awareness raising among the authorities and citizens of the need to take the Burkinabe diaspora into account in development policy: in particular of migration policy and voting rights, an issue which Tocsin was the first group to take up).
- Awareness raising amongst Burkinabe of the steps necessary and the need to prepare should they wish to return. This takes place during the peace caravans.
- Advocacy. Tocsin represents civil society at workshops and conferences on human rights and migrant issues. It publishes a journal called "Les Echos du TOCSIN," and frequently features in the press. Its latest declaration, in Feburary 2014, concerned the non-evacuation by the state of Burkinabes living in the Central African Republic, in contrast to the help provided to their citizens by other governments.
- Help to Burkinabe repatriates. This includes help with accommodation, school fees, restaurant vouchers and other assistance. More than 1500 people have benefited from Tocsin's help.
- The denunciation of xenophobic policies and all forms of discrimination
- Health projects to fight HIV/Aids and STIs. More than 1000 people benefited from each of these projects in 2013-2014.
- Early warning and awareness raising in the Burkinabe government. For example, Tocsin has worked since its founding on the situation of Burkinabes in the Ivory Coast.
- Providing humanitarian and reintegration assistance to Burkinabe victims of the conflict in Ivory Coast.
- The founding of the annual caravan processions.
- Lobbying efforts around migrant and immigrant rights, including for Burkinabe diaspora voting rights.
- Tocsin declarations in the local and international press on the rights of emigré Burkinabes.