Ending the Death Penalty in Africa

on 10 June 2022

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the International Federation of ACATs (FIACAT), along with their members on the ground, have joined together in a project whose main objective is to contribute the total abolition of the death penalty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The African continent is part of the international movement towards universal abolition. In 1990, only one country, Cap Verde, had abolished the death penalty. Today, out of the 55 African Union member States, 25 have abolished the death penalty in law, 15 are applying a long-term moratorium on executions while 15 retain capital punishment. Most recently Chad abolished the death penalty in April 2020, followed by Sierra Leone in October 2021 and the Central African Republic in June 2022.

The regional dynamics carrying the African continent towards abolition of the death penalty, as well as the crucial mobilization of the abolitionist civil society are at the center of this on-going project and are what makes it particularly relevant. Since 2015, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the FIACAT, in partnership with its members, has engaged in a campaign that contains three main components:

STRENGTHENING AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY

The World Coalition and its members have focused on supporting its project partners by improving the lobbying and advocacy capacity of African civil society organizations on their path to abolishing capital penalty. To achieve this, the World Coalition:

  • Coordinates a mailing list for all partner organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to share information on the death penalty in Africa as well as on-going work within their organizations.
  • Supports the World Coalition’s member organizations in Africa to apply for funding.
  • Provides targeted trainings and How-To manuals on how to work with various abolitionist allies including:
  • Provided a manual for civil society based on good advocacy practices (below).

SUPPORTING THE WORK OF THE ACHPR WORKING GROUP ON THE DEATH PENALTY

The ACHPR Working Group on Death Penalty, Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Africa was established in 2005 during the 38th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR- since then the working group has grown and expanded. While its members are subject to change with the elections of the ACHPR itself, there are currently 3 Commissioners and 4 Experts who constitute the group.

The Working Group has been engaged in the fight for abolition on the African continent through various actions such as urgent appeals, press releases, adopting resolutions within the ACHPR and African Union, and seeking support for the adoption of the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (see below).

The World Coalition, the FIACAT, and its members have been regularly attending public Ordinary Sessions of the ACHPR, and engaging with the Working Group to co-organize panels and make recommendations to African States to take steps to abolish.

SUPPORTING THE ADOPTION OF AN AFRICAN PROTOCOL AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

In April 2015, during its 56th Ordinary Session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) put the abolition of the death penalty at the heart of its debates. They adopted a draft treaty to help the African Union member States to take steps at the regional level to solidify their commitment to abolition: a draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa. This draft regional treaty would provide a similar, voluntary structure as the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

The World Coalition’s members, along with the FIACAT, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Botswana-based NGO Ditshwanelo, as well as the ACHPR’s Working Group on the Death Penalty have worked relentlessly to seek support for the adoption of this regional treaty by the African Union.

 

Related document(s)

Document(s)

Study on the question of the death penalty in Africa

By African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights / Working Group on the Death Penalty in Africa, on 1 January 2011


2011

Book

fr
More details See the document

The document broadly looks at the historical, human rights law, and practical aspects of the death penalty. It takes a comprehensive approach to the question of the death penalty, bearing in mind the need to provide the African Commission with sufficient information that will enable it to take an informed position on the matter.

Document(s)

Advocacy Toolkit on Abolition of the Death Penalty in West Africa

By Amnesty International, on 1 January 2016


2016

Lobbying

fr
More details See the document

This toolkit is for the use of activists who are working on the abolition of the death penalty in West Africa. It is intended to equip activists with some key advocacy tools to effectively influence the institutions and individuals who can make abolition a reality.

Document(s)

Leaflet on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty

By FIACAT, on 1 January 2017


2017

Multimedia content

enfr
More details Download [ pdf - 345 Ko ]

To supplement and strengthen the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 66 of the Charter authorises the adoption of Protocols or special agreements. It is on this basis that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) – the African Union (AU) authority responsible for promoting and protecting human rights in Africa – proposed that the AU adopt a specific Protocol on the abolition of the death penalty that specifies that “the right to life is the foundation of all the other rights” and that “the abolition of the death penalty is vital for the effective protection” of this right.

News

ACHPR 71st Ordinary Session

71st Ordinary session of the African Commission: focus on torture and the death penalty

How to work with parliamentarians for the abolition of the death penalty

Publication of a New Guide on Working with Parliamentarians to Abolish the Death Penalty

68th Ordinary Session, Joint Panel on Violence Against Women in Vulnerable Situations.

68th Ordinary Session African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights- Anti-Death Penalty Advocacy Continues

African human rights body targets death penalty

Africa moving towards regional abolition treaty

Mali: is abolition in sight?

flag

Angola

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Benin

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Botswana

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Burkina Faso

Abolitionist for ordinary crimes onlyDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Burundi

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Cameroon

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Cape Verde

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Central-African-Republic

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Chad

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Comoros

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Congo

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Côte d’Ivoire

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Democratic Republic of the Congo

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Djibouti

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Equatorial Guinea

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Eritrea

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Ethiopia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Gabon

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Gambia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Ghana

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Guinea

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Guinea-Bissau

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Kenya

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Lesotho

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Liberia

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Madagascar

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Mali

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Mauritania

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Mauritius

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Mozambique

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Namibia

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Niger

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Nigeria

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Rwanda

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Sao Tome and Principe

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Senegal

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Seychelles

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Sierra Leone

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Somalia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

South Africa

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

South Sudan

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Sudan

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Togo

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Uganda

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Zambia

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

Countries
flag

Zimbabwe

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

Countries