#AbolitionNowTour : The Youth Stands Against the Death Penalty


24 February 2022

ECPM calls on young people from all around the world

ECPM is glad to introduce an unprecedented experience! In the framework of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, due in Berlin in November 2022, ECPM just wrapped up the #AbolitionNowTour: a unique mobilization programe intended for young people from Africa, Asia and the Middle-East. The project targetted 6 countries in which ECPM was already conducting advocacy actions for the abolition of the death penalty: Morocco, DRC, Kenya, Indonesia, Lebanon and the United States.

The purpose of the project is to give the young delegations an opportunity to build a strategic action plan, thus contributing to the abolition of the death penalty in their country. Brainstorming, creativity and originality are the leitmotivs of the challenge! During two days, the groups attended a workshop supervised by Margaux Richet, Intercultural Trainer-Facilitator and Moderator.

The delegations that will have completed their priority action within six months of the workshop will be invited to the Berlin Congress in November 2022 to present their work along with the other national delegations to the worldwide abolitionnist community (politicians, lawyers, Nobel prizes, NGOs, students, media, participants, artists, etc.).

 

In the meantime, get to know the participants from the six countries through the project's logbook!

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Logbook

Rabat, October 23rd and 24th

First stop: Morocco! On October 23rd and 24th, a group of young abolitionists determined to end the death penalty in their country met for the first time at the National Institute for Human Rights Training in Rabat for the first #AbolitionNowTour workshop. Guided in the design of their action plan by Margaux Richet, moderator and intercultural facilitator, and Aymane Aouidi, our local point of contact, the participants also listened to the powerful testimony of Ahmed Ahou, former death row inmate, as well as the inspiring talks of Amina Bouayach, President of the Moroccan National Council for Human Rights (CNDH), and Fadoua Farhat, Project Manager at the Moroccan Prison Observatory (OMP). Stay tuned to follow the progress of their actions!

Priority action | The participants have been strongly influenced by the testimony of Ahmed Haou, a former death row inmate in Morocco, and offer to make 2 short videos of testimonies of convicts or former convicts. The videos would be presented to different people after having asked them their opinion about the death penalty. The question will be asked again after viewing the video. Second, the participants would like to organize a round table discussion to raise awareness about the abolition of the death penalty.

Next stop: Democratic Republic of Congo

Kinshasa, November 13rd and 14th

The #AbolitionNowTour spend the weekend in DRC! For the second workshop, Mrs. Suzanne Mangomba, Maître Liévin Ngondji and Maître Charlène Yanganzo welcomed this new group of young abolitionists in Kinshasa. Their interventions allowed us to pass the abolitionist flame to our participants who were very touched and were able to start the workshop in a spirit of cohesion. In spite of the rain, the ideas flowed thanks to their motivation, to the involvement of the CPJ, our local partner, and to the non-formal education methods of Margaux Richet. Maître Liévin said he was "amazed by their finesse, intelligence and creativity": the future of the abolition is assured!

Priority action | One word: ambition! This second group of young abolitionists have indeed chosen to set up an advocacy strategy in order to submit a memorandum to the President of the Republic himself. To be continued...

Next stop: Kenya

Nairobi, November 20th and 21st

For the new #AbolitionNowTour workshop, we met a third group of abolitionists full of creativity and ideas to carry the project forward and advance the abolition of the death penalty in Kenya. Under the benevolent eye of Pete Ouko, our local point of contact and former death row inmate, participants heard the poignant testimony of William Okumu, also a former death row inmate, who honored us by participating in the entire workshop. Follow this very connected delegation on instagram

Priority action | This third group decided to focus its energy on organizing 3 conferences over 6 months with three different groups: universities, high schools and communities, in order to raise awareness about abolition among students and Kenyan youth. 

Next stop: Indonesia! For sanitary reasons, this workshop will be animated remotly by the facilitaror, Margaux Richet, and coordinated on site by our local point of contact. 

Jakarta, January 22nd and 23rd

The fourth #AbolitionNowTour workshop took an hybrid shape in Indonesia: eight young abolitionists met at the Ashley Wahid Hasyim Jakarta hotel with our local referent Rizky Fariza Alfian, and Rayyan Auliya from the Indonesian organization KontraS, while our facilitator Margaux Richet orchestrated the online workshop from Germany, assisted by Sarah Hajjar, project manager, and Ramla Liatouji, coordinator of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty. This configuration did not affect the dynamics of this very kind group, composed of very creative persons who supported each other throughout the two days. The usual activities such as forum theater were adapted, for example with storytelling theater, known in Indonesia as Wayang Kulit, in order to create scenes with dialogues around the death penalty and abolition. The participants were particularly touched by the messages of encouragement sent to them by previous delegations: the flame of the #AbolitionNowTour is very well lit!

Priority action | The Indonesian delegation chose to design an online awareness campaign to target the youth, presenting information in a dynamic way and telling the stories of death row inmates. 

Next stop: Lebanon!

Beirut, February 19th and 20th

The 5th #AbolitionNowTour workshop took place in Lebanon with a passionnate group of 8 young abolitionnists. Together with the Lebanese Association for Civil Rights (LACR), they agreed on one advocacy action to happen in their home country. Always guided by Margaux Richet, our facilitator, accompanied by Sarah Hajjar, project coordinator, and Tanya Awad Ghorra, our local referent, Dr Ogarit Younan, co-founder of the LACR and of the abolitionist movement in Lebanon, had the opportunity to share her thoughts and knowledge through videoconference. Antoinette Chahine, a former Lebanese death row inmate, honored us with her presence and her poignant testimony that will remain one of the highlights of this #AbolitionNowTour.

A big thank you to the LACR team for hosting the workshop, especially to Hala Abou Ali. The Lebanese delegation is now preparing for the #8CongressECPM.

Priority action | The young abolitionists of the Lebanese delegation decided to run a one-day workshop for young people aged 17 to 22, who are at the end of their schooling and/or studying law in Lebanon. The aim of the workshop? To highlight the issues at stake in the abolition of the death penalty and to develop an abolitionist mindset within Lebanese civil society. Later on, a campaign on social networks could reinforce the objectives of this first action.

Next and last stop: Texas, USA!

Dallas, April 9th and 10th

It's a wrap! The sixth and final #AbolitionNowTour workshop took place in Dallas, Texas, the most executing state in the US. The 8 young activists met at Southern Methodist University while the abolitionist community is under strain, standing up to stop the scheduled execution of Melissa Lucio on 27 April 2022. The group listened to moving testimonies from John Lucio, Melissa Lucio's son, and Debra Milke, a former death row inmate, who was able to attend the workshop thanks to Witness To Innocence. The participants were also able to exchange views with Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director of ECPM, Ramla Liatouji, Coordinator of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, and Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, ECPM Administrator and Hank Skinner's wife.

Priority action | Accompanied by Margaux Richet, all 8 participants showed a lot of creativity throughout the workshop and chose to house an online art gallery for abolition, which they will fill with artworks from Rick Halperin's archives, our local referent, whom we warmly thank. Other educational content will be added to the gallery. Follow them now on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @AbolitionNowTX !

Next stop: Germany! We will be meeting up with all the delegations that have completed their priority actions during the events of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, which will take place from 15 to 18 November 2022 in Berlin.

For further information, please contact Sarah Hajjar (shajjar@ecpm.org), #AbolitionNowTour point of contact and project manager for the 8th World congress against the death penalty.