On July 23, 1992, Tavio was shot by two men while waiting for a car. He would die several days later in France, where he was rushed for treatment. At the time Tavio was aware that the government was trying to kill him. He had bought a bullet-proof to protect himself, although he was not wearing it the day that he was shot. Tavio had also stopped sleeping at his home for his own safety.
The identity cards of two police officers were found near the scene of the shooting, but no one was ever brought to justice for Tavio’s murder. In 1997 the Togolese government offered to compensate Tavio’s family with money, but Tavio’s family responded by saying: “we do not want that money. We demand that justice is done and that the perpetrators of this crime are arrested.” Tavio Amorin was but one of many Togolese who have been targeted and killed for daring to stand up against repression in Togo.
Tavio was relentless in his criticisms of the government. In his role as the Chair of Political Affairs, Human Rights, and Liberties Commission, he worked to expose the human rights abuses in Togo. One issue that he focused on was the Bé lagoon massacre in which 28 non-violent demonstrators were killed by the army. Tavio demanded that those who were responsible be brought to justice. Tavio was aware that such bold criticisms of the government would make him a target, but in his view the best way the keep alive the memory of those that had already been killed by the government was to continue the fight for democracy. Tavio explained, “we will fight so that the memory of victims in the fight for democracy will be respected.”
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Tavio also served as the General Secretary for the Pan-African Socialist Party. His vision was of a unified Africa that was free of the type of oppression that existed in Togo and many other African countries. Consistent with his Pan-African vision, Tavio wanted a unified Togo that was free of tribalism. He explained that his goal was “to defend respect for the dignity of each human being whatever their origin or ethnic group. I am fighting against all forms of tribalism and make no distinction between the north and south of Togo.”
Toussaint L’Ouverture the leader of the Haitian Revolution, proclaimed after he was captured by his French enemies: “In overthrowing me you have only cut down the trunk of the liberty tree of the blacks in San Domingue. It will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep.” Toussaint’s words were prophetic. The French may have cut down the leader of Haiti’s revolution, but they could not stop the revolution. Likewise, in killing Tavio and many others the dictatorship in Togo only succeeded in cutting the trunk of the tree, but the roots of that tree are springing back up today in Togo. As Tavio himself said: “They have power. They can enslave us, but no one can stop the people…history is ours.”