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Middle East: ECPM takes a new step

Aminata Niakaté, lawyer and President of ECPM, looks back on two days of decisive exchanges for our association in Amman, where the 4th Regional Congress on the Death Penalty in the Middle East took place, a first in the region.
Aminata Niakate at the opening of the 4th Regional Congress in Amman (Jordan) – Ⓒ Rajiv Raman

“Just a few days before the gruesome anniversary of the death in Iran of Jina Mahsa Amini, the starting point of the first feminist revolution in the country’s history, I would like to reflect on our 4th World Congress on the Death Penalty in the Middle East.

The Middle East is a very sensitive part of the world, where the death penalty is all too often used as a political tool by authoritarian regimes to repress and control their populations. The Middle East is a key priority for ECPM, which has worked extensively with Iranian NGOs in the face of an unprecedented upsurge in executions.

Keen to strengthen its action in this complex area, ECPM held its 4th regional congress on the death penalty in Amman, Jordan, in July. It was the first time an event of this size had been held in the Middle East. Jordan, a retentionist country, nevertheless offers many glimmers of hope. Although it does not yet have a moratorium, Jordan has not carried out any executions for several years, and Jordanian civil society is very committed and firmly believes in the fight for abolition. They responded in large numbers to our invitation.

Around 200 delegates took part in this 4th Regional Congress, each enriching the work and debates with their contributions, reflections and sharing of experience.

The congress provided an opportunity for exchanges in Arabic and English with all the abolitionists in the sub-region. The collective emulation was palpable, the poignant testimonies of former prisoners on death row took our breath away and deeply moved us, and a vibrant tribute was paid to our late friend Walid Slaybi, a tireless defender of the right to life and non-violence.

May 2023
Walid Slaïby, a leading figure in Lebanese civil society and the abolitionist movement, passed away…

We came back to France enriched with a more organised and solid abolitionist network than ever. We left the Congress with a final declaration drafted in an unprecedented way by all the delegates present, who were able to amend it directly during the meeting. This text, rich in its participative writing, outlines a clear path towards the universal abolition of the death penalty and makes strong recommendations to decision-makers and abolitionist activists in the Middle East.

This 4th Congress is a huge step towards abolishing the death penalty in the Middle East, and it’s only the beginning!”

Aminata Niakate, President of ECPM

July 2023
At the end of two days of intense discussion and debates, the 4th Regional Congress…