Organization a panel on the abolition of the death penalty

during the 64th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights


Sharm El Sheikh, 25 April 2019 – the African Commission on Humans and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) set up a panel on the death penalty together with FIACAT, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP) and the FIDH.

For a number of years now, the fight for abolition in Africa has been part of a broader, world-wide movement to abolish the death penalty.  Burkina Faso and Guinea recently abolished the death penalty while Gambia has begun the process of moving towards abolition by ratifying the Second optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that aims to abolish the death penalty.  To date, out of the 55 African Union member states, 21 have abolished the death penalty in law and 18 have issued a moratorium on capital executions. 

However, 16 states continue to condemn individuals to death and enforce the sentences.  In 2018, 5 of these countries allowing capital punishment carried out executions, including Botswana, Egypt, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.  At the same time, 22 states still hand down death sentences.  For example Egypt in 2018 sentenced more than 717 people to death and carried out at least 43 executions.

Within this context, the ACHPR, together with FIACAT, the WCADP and the FIDH, set up a panel on abolition of the death penalty on the sidelines of the 64th session that is being held in Sharm El Sheikh, in Egypt, from 24 April to 14 May 2019.  The aim of the panel is to identify the different abolitionist strategies in order to identify the relevant levers for action in those countries that still allow capital executions.

On this occasion, the Honourable Commissaire Kayitesi, Chairman of the working group on the death penalty; Mr. Angaman, President of FIACAT; Sheikh Barham, Chairman of the Intra- and Inter-religious Council for Dialogue in Niger; Mr. Tsunga, Vice-Chairman of FIDH along with Mrs Jeng, Representative of the Justice Ministry in Gambia all put forward their arguments in favour of abolition and set out different abolitionist strategies.  The event enabled many fruitful exchanges on the key role played by religion on the road towards abolition of the death penalty.

With the African trend towards abolition in mind, FIACAT encourages:

  • the ACHPR and African Union member states to push for adoption of the African Protocol on abolition of the death penalty;
  • States that are currently observing a moratorium on capital executions to continue in this vein by applying a moratorium on all death sentences that are handed down and abolishing the death penalty in law.


Press contact:

FIACAT : Xavière Prugnard, Representative at the African Union  –