Hands Off Cain names Jean Ping “Abolitionist of the Year”
The Italian-based international abolitionist organization Hands Off Cain has chosen Jean Ping (photo) as its 2010 “Abolitinonist of the Year”. The chairman of the African Union Commission will receive the prize at a ceremony in Rome on July 31 from Hands Off Cain members including Emma Bonino, vice president of the Italian Senate.
Ping has been promoting abolition first as a member of government in Gabon, his country of origin, and then on the continental level. Under his chairmanship, the African Union’s human rights arm, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has officially called on all retentionist African states to adopt a moratorium on executions and work towards abolishing the death penalty.
The pan-African body has also been holding debates in preparation for a continent-wide abolitionist treaty that member states will be invited to join.
In the foreword to Hands Off Cain’s 2010 annual report, Ping wrote: “I have always believed that there cannot be any justification for taking a life, despite the due process of the law, because it will never replace the life that was taken away. (…)I call upon all States particularly Member States of the African Union to consider abolishing the death penalty as a form of punishment in light of the Resolutions by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations General Assembly.”
Hands Off Cain will launch the report on the death penalty worldwide, edited by Italian MP Elisabetta Zamparutti and published by Reality Book, at the ceremony on July 31.