FIACAT.News No. 79 provides information on the activities of FIACAT and ACATs during the second half of 2012.
Editorial: Commitment… and a sign of hope
Once again, we can rejoice at work that has been completed in recent months through close cooperation between FIACAT and ACATs.
In partnership with ACAT Benin and ACAT Togo, FIACAT was able to organise lobbying missions before the United Nations Bodies concerning torture and ill-treatment in these two countries. Both these ACATs were present, with FIACAT, at the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva during the sessions of the United Nations mechanisms. Similarly, at the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), FIACAT was accompanied by ACAT Côte d’Ivoire when expressing its concerns about the human rights situation in Africa.
FIACAT also took on an ambitious project in taking the campaign to abolish the death penalty on the African Continent to 16 sub-Saharan African countries. This project was brought about through the support of the ACAT Africa/Europe network. As a first step, two European ACATs, Germany and Luxembourg, managed to obtain from their foreign affairs ministries the necessary financial support for carrying out the first phase of the project. Thus FIACAT, in partnership with ACAT Senegal, was able to organise in Dakar from 12 to 14 November 2012 an initial training seminar on the death penalty, for its active members in West Africa.
Many ACATs took action on 10 October, the World Day against the Death Penalty, to raise awareness in their church communities and among public opinion of the denial of justice which capital punishment constitutes. Many ACATs marked this day with film showings and discussions, press statements and church services.
Very recently, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the record vote on 19 November 2012 by the Third Committee of the General Assembly in favour of the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The Resolution, calling upon all States ’To establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty’ was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Plenary by 111 votes to 41 with 34 abstentions. Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the text as reflecting ’a trend against capital punishment which has grown stronger across regions, legal traditions and customs’ throughout the world.
We, the members of ACAT, for whom combating capital punishment is a major issue, are delighted, and we hope that the fourth resolution’s call for a universal moratorium on the death penalty will be heard even more widely than that of its three predecessors.
At the start of a new year, let us take this good news as a sign of hope and light for the world and the year to come. Let it strengthen our commitment to unconditional respect for human dignity!
Member of FIACAT’s International Bureau