FIACAT: abolition “is part of the mission of the Churches”
The members of the FIACAT network collected 30,000 of 90,708 signatures calling on Yemen, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan to stop executions of minors. Those petitions were submitted at the embassies of these four countries in Paris on 20 November on the occasion of the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
FIACAT, for its part, participated in the Conference on the death penalty in Africa, held on 23-25 September 2009 in Kigali by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, during which the adoption of a Protocol on the death penalty in Africa was considered.
In these circumstances propitious to progress in abolishing the death penalty throughout the world, FIACAT especially welcomes the following statements made at the Synod for Africa, held in Rome from 4 to 25 October 2009, which were submitted to Pope Benedict XVI for adoption on:
– the abolition of capital punishment: ‘The Church views the growing opposition to the death penalty as a sign of hope….. Human dignity requires that a person’s fundamental human rights be respected even when they do not respect the rights of others. Capital punishment prevents that goal being achieved…. Moreover, poor people who cannot defend themselves are more easily subject to that definitive and irrevocable punishment. The Synod calls for the complete and universal abolition of the death penalty.’;
– the situation of prisoners: ‘Governments and decision-makers should launch a reform of the prison system, enhance prevention and apply minimum international standards on the treatment of prisoners, including more humane treatment in terms of food, accommodation, clothing and medical care, acknowledge prisoners’ rights and accord them decent detention conditions and holistic care from prison pastoral services by suitably trained persons, and establish ‘rehabilitation centres’ to help prisoners reintegrate into society’.
Indeed, the campaign to abolish the death penalty, torture and the inhumane treatment of prisoners is part of the prophetic mission of the Churches, for whom every person is a brother or a sister, created in God’s image. It is a matter of contributing to a more just and more human world and thus to peace – the peace which comes from acknowledging others as your brother or sister, and which has its wellspring in the Gospel, that Good News for all.
Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual
President of FIACAT