Patience A. Gbeze, GNA
Accra, Sept. 1, GNA – Mr Lawrence Amesu, the
Director of Amnesty International Ghana, said a lot had been achieved towards
ensuring that Ghana gained the status as abolitionist in practice.
He said Ghana had not executed anyone over the
past 23 years even though the courts continued to sentence people to death, and
“we have about 137 death row inmates, including three women, in our prisons
Speaking at the launch of Advocacy Toolkit for
Abolition of Death Penalty in West Africa, Mr Amesu said he believed that
Amnesty International’s submission with support from other civil society
organisations and the opinion of the public had contributed to the
recommendation that death penalty should be abolished in Ghana.
He said though West Africa was leading that
progressive forward march, however, the Anglophone countries within the
continent are dragging their feet while the Francophone countries including
Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso had either abolished the
death penalty or were doubling their steps towards achieving that.
Mr Amesu said the toolkit was very useful for
the media, civil society organisations and para institutions which were
advocating for the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana as well as all
government institutions which had a stake in the process.
“The document will also be very useful for the
youth not only as an advocacy tool but also as a knowledge acquisition document
because it highlights and explains such terminologies as abolitionist,
retentionist, clemency, exoneration, and pardon, among others,” he added.
The document, he said, traced the history and
achievements of Amnesty International’s journey towards total abolition of the
death penalty in the world while focusing a little more on the situation in
Africa and West Africa.
The toolkit also highlights the international
instruments and bodies that support the need for the abolition of the death
Dr Isaac Annan, a Director at CHRAJ, who
chaired the function, said Ghana was Human Rights compliant as it ratified most
of the United Nations Conventions and Resolutions, and reiterated the need for
the country to abolish the death penalty as a sign of commitment.
Ms Sabrina Tucci, of Amnesty International
Secretariat, London, noted that West Africa is a beacon of hope for the whole
of Africa and urged civil society organisations to continue the campaign.
She called on governments to engage the public
in debates on the issue.