Paris, Antananarivo, 25 September 2012 - on 24 September 2012, on the occasion of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, President Andry Rajoelina, on behalf of the Malagasy State, signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. This is an extremely important step towards the abolition of the death penalty in Madagascar.
Article 1 of this Protocol states that ’1. No-one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed. 2. Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction.’
The death penalty has not been abolished in Madagascar, although the last execution was in 1958 and in practice death sentences are commuted to penal servitude for life.
Nevertheless, the Justice Ministry lists a total for the whole country of 55 prisoners condemned to death, but this figure dates from 2009 and since then no reliable data have been made available. Most of these prisoners are being held at the Tsiafahy detention centre in conditions which resemble cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Those condemned to death are considered by society as pariahs and are not supported by their families or friends. They are allowed no visitors and thus have no access to outside additional food supplies. The vast majority of them suffer extreme psychological distress.
For all these reasons, in November 2011 the United Nations Committee against Torture urged Madagascar to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
FIACAT and ACAT Madagascar congratulate Madagascar for having signed this international treaty and encourage the Malagasy authorities to ratify it as soon as possible in order to abolish definitively the death penalty in their country.