A Letter to President Biden on Behalf of the People of Togo
Below is a letter that I co-wrote calling for the United States government to cease its support for the dictatorship in Togo. I would request readers to copy and paste the letter into the box at the link to the White House’s contact information below and put your name at the bottom where it says [insert name].
Dear President Biden,
The government in Togo is the oldest military dictatorship in Africa. The regime first came to power when Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup in 1967. Since 1967 the government of Togo has maintained itself in power through repressive force. This has included arbitrary arrest, torture, and murder of dissidents, journalists, and protesters. When the people of Togo mobilized to protest for an end to five decades of dictatorship in 2017, the government reacted by shutting down the internet and by sending the security forces to brutalize the protesters. Many protesters were severely wounded or killed by the repression and many others are still held in prison without trial. The government of Togo has also utilized NSO spyware to target citizens in Togo as part of its effort to suppress its citizens.
Not only have these abuses on the part of the government in Togo been met with silence from the United States, but the United States has supported the regime in Togo through programs such as the MCC Togo Threshold Program. Such support helps to legitimize what has been a very violent and repressive government. In recent years we have seen a rise of authoritarianism around the world, including in the United States. If the United States is to play a role in combatting the spread of authoritarianism around the world, then it must send a very strong and consistent message through its domestic and foreign policy. The people of Togo must not be left to struggle for justice alone and the United States cannot combat the threat of authoritarianism around the world by continuing to remain indifferent towards the dictatorship in Togo and by continuing to support the Togolese government through aid programs. I call on you to take a strong stance against dictatorship in Togo by demanding the release of political prisoners and by sanctioning Togolese officials that are involved in human rights abuses and corruption.