RAL, ACAT-Liberia Urge Govt of Liberia To Repeal The Death Penalty Law

As part of activities marking the 17th anniversary of the World Day Against the Penalty, Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) and Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-Liberia) are calling on the Liberian Government to repeal the clause within the Penal Code that talks about death penalty.

The two human rights organizations remind the Liberian Government that the country had acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which calls for the abolition of the death penalty in 2005 and increased the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty in its legislation in 2008.

It still remains a point to concentrate on that despite advocacy and lobbying with the National Legislature and other relevant government institutions for the repeal of the 2008 law that allows the death penalty, practical action is yet to be taken by the government of Liberia that will lead to its abolition.

In a release, the organizations recounted the last execution in the country that took place in 2000, but lamented that death sentences are still handed down by the courts. They also expressed dismay that Liberia is the only country in the world to have gone backwards after accession to the UN protocol.

ACAT-Liberia and RAL in line with their action plan through a press release further reminded the Government of Liberia  of its responsibility to ensure signed and ratified UNCAT and OPCAT, Optional Protocol  to the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) are criminalized and domesticated within the Penal Code of Liberia.

This includes respect Procedural Rights Standards a centerpiece  for cooperation related to human rights and torture, in particular as related to the procedural rights of suspects and accused persons and provide data on all places of detention and on all persons in detention in their respective jurisdictions.

“Steps should also be taken to ensure that the data reflect detainees’ age, gender, vulnerabilities and other relevant information about socio-demographic and legal status,” the two organizations said in a release.

The World Day Against the Death Penalty is celebrated on the 10th of October every year, but the organizations in collaboration with partners including the Swedish Embassy, Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR), Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law among others will now celebrate the day on October 29, 2019 in Monrovia.

The World Day Against the Death Penalty is a day set aside to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and to raise awareness of the conditions and the circumstances which affect prisoners with death sentences.

The focus of this year’s celebration is “Children: unseen victims of the death penalty.” Frequently forgotten, children of parents sentenced to death or executed carry a heavy emotional and psychological burden that can amount to the violation of their human rights.
This trauma can occur at any and all stages of the capital punishment of a parent: arrest, trial, sentencing, death row stays, execution dates, execution itself, and its aftermath. The repeated cycles of hope and disappointment that can accompany all of these stages can have a long-term impact, occasionally well into adulthood.

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