Ending the Death Penalty on the African Continent

on 23 October 2020

The World Coalition, FIACAT, FIDH and Ditshwanelo have partnered in a project that vectors the main objective of contributing to the 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 had abolished the death penalty: Cape Verde. Today, out of the 54 States Members of the African Union, 20 have abolished the death penalty in law, 18 no longer execute those  sentenced to death, 38 countries are therefore abolitionist in law or in practice and 16 States still retain the death penalty as a punishment. The Republic of Congo and Madagascar abolished the capital punishment in 2015 and Guinea was the last African country to join the list of abolitionist countries on 4 July, 2016.

The dynamics of the African continent and of its civil society as regards to the abolition of the death penalty is what motivated the WCADP and its partners to launch the project “Contributing to the abolition of the death penalty on the African continent”. Since 2015 the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, along with its member organisations FIACAT and FIDH and its partner Ditshwanelo, engaged in a campaign that has three main components:

Strengthening the African Civil Society

The World Coalition and its partners have focused on supporting its members by improving the lobbying and advocacy skills of African civil society organisations on their path towards the abolition of the death penalty.  To achieve this they have:

  • Created a mailing list for all the partner organisations in sub-Saharan Africa to share information on the death penalty in Africa, but also on the work of their organisations
  • Helped the World Coalition’s member organisations in Africa to apply for funding.
  • Invited partner organisations from the African continent to participate to the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, where a round table was dedicated to the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right’s on the abolition of the death penalty in Africa.
  • Created a manual for civil society based on good practices

Supporting the Adoption of an African protocol

In April 2015, at 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 and adopted a draft regional treaty to help African Union member states to move away from capital punishment:  a draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa.

The World Coalition against the Death Penalty along with its partners FIACAT, FIDH and Ditshwanelo as well as the Working group on the death penalty have been working relentlessly to seek support for the adoption of this regional treaty by the African Union, but also, for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

> Click here for more information on the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa.

> Read our articles on the Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol by Togo and by São Tomé.

Strengthening the Work of the Working Group on the Death Penalty of the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights


The Working Group on the death penalty was set up in 2005 at the 38th Session of the ACHPR and its mandate was expanded in 2012 to include issues of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings. The Working Group is composed of three commissioners and five experts and is chaired by Commissioner Sylvie Kayitesi.

The Working Group of the ACHPR has committed to the abolition of the death penalty in the African continent trough different actions such as urgent appeals, press releases and seeking support for the adoption of the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Several civil society organisations from Africa have been invited to the 58th and 59th Ordinary Sessions of the ACHPR, where the Working Group on the death penalty and extrajudicial executions has organised a panel on the death penalty and called upon the African states to take steps for the abolition of the capital punishment.

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

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?

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Angola

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Benin

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Botswana

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Burkina Faso

Abolitionist for ordinary crimes onlyDeath penalty legal status

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Burundi

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Cameroon

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Cape Verde

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Central-African-Republic

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Chad

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Comoros

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Congo

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Côte d’Ivoire

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Djibouti

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Equatorial Guinea

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Eritrea

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Ethiopia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Gabon

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Gambia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Ghana

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Guinea

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Guinea-Bissau

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Kenya

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Lesotho

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Liberia

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Madagascar

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Mali

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Mauritania

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Mauritius

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Mozambique

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Namibia

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Niger

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Nigeria

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Rwanda

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Sao Tome and Principe

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Senegal

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Seychelles

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Sierra Leone

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Somalia

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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South Africa

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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South Sudan

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Sudan

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Togo

Abolitionist for all crimesDeath penalty legal status

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Uganda

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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Zambia

Abolitionist in practiceDeath penalty legal status

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Zimbabwe

RetentionistDeath penalty legal status

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