Roll Call Features Op-Ed by Sen. Robert Bennett and Sen. Byron Dorgan Calling for US Attention to Issues of Democracy and Human Rights in the Republic of Benin

In an opinion piece recently published in Roll Call, Arent Fox Senior Policy Advisors Sen. Robert Bennett and Sen. Byron Dorgan called for US attention to human rights violations that threaten the state of democracy in the small West African nation of Benin, suggesting “modest actions” the US could take to “help restore the basic principles of law in a nation critical to regional stability.”

Arent Fox represents Patrice Talon, a prominent businessman in Benin who was falsely accused of attempting to assassinate the current president of Benin, Thomas Boni Yayi, after he opposed the president’s effort to amend Benin’s constitution to remove presidential term limits. The assassination charges were dismissed in May, yet one of Mr. Talon’s employees remains in custody in violation of Benin law.

Sens. Bennett and Dorgan pointed out that Benin, which has been a functioning democracy since the early 1990s, “has been an important ally in an area vital to US interests,” sharing a border with Nigeria and located in “close proximity to areas eyed by Islamist terrorists as havens.”

The article urged the United States to support Benin’s “stability and cordial relationship with the West” by refusing additional foreign aid to Benin “until President Yayi pledges to respect his nation’s democratic institutions, protect human rights and adhere to the rule of law.”

To read the entire article, click here

Continue Reading