Amnesty International is against death penalty, still prevalent in Africa
International rights organization, Amnesty International, has put forward the progress made by countries in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty as a form of punishment. 20 sub-Saharan countries have since 1981 abolished the death penalty. Guinea in 2017 became the 20th state in the region to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty described the progress made in sub-Saharan Africa as a ‘beacon of hope’. “The progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition. The leadership of countries in this region gives fresh hope that the abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is within reach.”
Burkina Faso and Chad took steps to repeal the death penalty with new or proposed laws while Kenya abolished the mandatory death penalty for murder.
The organization recorded a drop in the number of executing countries across sub-Saharan Africa, from five in 2016 to two in 2017, with only South Sudan and Somalia known to have carried out executions.
Nigeria according to the rights group, has put to death at least 600 people between 2015 and 2016 with over 2,200 people currently on death row whereas the Gambia has signed an international treaty committing the country not to carry out executions and moving to abolish the death penalty. President Adama Barrow established an official temporary ban on executions in February 2018.