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The Central African Republic is the 24e African state to abolish the death penalty

The National Assembly of the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted the law abolishing the death penalty in CAR on 27 May 2022. Following the promulgation of this text by President Touadéra, CAR will become the 24th abolitionist state in Africa and the 110th in the world.

This historic step is the culmination of intense advocacy work by civil society led by ACAT CAR and parliamentarians that ECPM and FIACAT have actively supported for many years. Furthermore, the long-standing commitment of the authorities to abolition in CAR, the last execution of which dates back to 1981, is now taking shape. President Faustin Archange Touadéra had made a strong commitment during his inaugural speech for his second term of office on 31 March 2021.

ECPM and FIACAT congratulate civil society, including ACAT CAR, for its advocacy work with the authorities and for the awareness-raising work carried out among the Central African population in recent years.

ACAT CAR, ECPM and FIACAT congratulate the MPs and the CAR authorities for their commitment and for this major step forward for human rights. Following the recent abolitions in Sierra Leone and Chad, the abolition of the death penalty in CAR confirms the strong abolitionist trend on the African continent.

The CAR must now complete this process by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. ECPM and FIACAT will continue to support abolitionist actors in CAR through these next steps.

3 questions to… Nicolas Perron, Program Director at ECPM

  What does this vote by the National Assembly of the Central African Republic represent ?

This is a historic vote that was not met with any particular opposition within the Assembly. President Touadera now has 15 days to enact the law then CAR will become the 24th abolitionist state in Africa and the 110th in the world. This confirms the strong trend seen in Africa, which will undoubtedly be the next abolitionist continent! 

  How did you carry out this advocacy work on the ground to support local actors?

I would particularly like to pay tribute to ACAT CAR, without whom nothing would have been possible. Indeed, this result is the product of a tremendous collective effort carried out for many years by ACAT CAR, FIACAT and ECPM. The three partners have never stopped raising awareness of the authorities on the subject through the organisation of numerous seminars and political meetings. Despite a moratorium on executions that has never been questioned since 1981, and participation in the last two World Congresses against the death penalty organised by ECPM, the authorities remained hesitant. Everything accelerated when President Touadera pledged to abolish the death penalty in his inaugural speech for his second term on 30 March 2021. ACAT RCA, FIACAT and ECPM then put in place a strategy to revive the bill presented by Roland Achille Betangai during the previous legislature. His successor, Brice Kevin Kakpayen, agreed to endorse the proposal and several advocacy missions on the ground were conducted by the three organisations. A workshop held during the Presidents’ Conference in the Assembly in March 2022 was decisive.

  What does the abolition of the death penalty mean in a country like CAR ?

The CAR has been afflicted by civil war since 2013.  While the country is striving to build peace, the abolition of the death penalty stands therefore as a formidable symbol, demonstrating the authorities’ desire to put an end to the infernal cycle of violence.  We now invite President Touadera to remind us of this at the 8th World Congress against the Death Penalty that we will be organising in Berlin from 15 to 18 November 2022.