Monday, October 10, 2005

World Day Against the Death Penalty

October 10 is World Day Against the Death Penalty, organized by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

The Coalition includes Amnesty International, Ensemble contre la peine de mort (France), FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights League), the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (USA) as well as many other law and human rights groups.

The focus this year is Africa.

Numerous signs show that abolition is making progress in Africa and the Coalition wants to support this movement and back up the actions of abolitionists in Africa.

12 of the 53 African countries have already abolished the death penalty. Only three held executions in 2004: Sudan, Somalia, Egypt. 20 countries have not executed death-row prisoners for more than 10 years (unofficial moratorium), or have an official moratorium.

There have been some recent advances. Senegal abolished the death penalty on December 10, 2004. The Ugandan Constitutional Court ordered the revision of the trials of a large majority of death-row prisoners, prohibiting the automatic application of capital punishment and considering that prolonged detention on death row constitutes a treatment that is cruel, inhuman, and degrading. In Morocco, a national coalition against the death penalty has helped to create conditions for an open debate in Moroccan society in view of abolishing this punishment.

The Coalition is now formally calling on all the heads of African states through a petition to abolish capital punishment.

According to Amnesty International research, 97 per cent of all known executions in 2004 took place in either China, Iran, Viet Nam or the United States.
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:33 pm


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