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Burkina Faso’s abolition of the death penalty welcomed

‘Burkina Faso will join a group of nations that have consigned this cruel punishment to history’ – Yves Traoré

Reacting to news that Burkina Faso’s parliament has adopted a new penal code that abolishes the death penalty in the country, Yves Traoré, Amnesty International’s Burkina Faso Director, said:

“The adoption of a new penal code effectively strikes off the death penalty from the list of possible punishments in Burkina Faso.

“While the country has been abolitionist in practice for many years, this parliamentary decision is a welcome move.

“Once the new code comes into force, Burkina Faso will join a group of nations that have consigned this cruel punishment to history.”

Trend toward abolition

The last known execution in Burkina Faso was in 1988. In recent years, fellow West African countries Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Togo have also abolished the death penalty, as have the Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Gabon, Madagascar and Rwanda. Amnesty is calling on other countries around the world to follow Burkina Faso’s example.

In its recent global report on capital punishment, Amnesty showed that in 2017 there were at least 993 executions in 23 countries around the world (with thousands more thought to have occurred in China), while at least 21,919 people globally were known to be under sentence of death at the end of last year. Amnesty’s annual recording of executions and death sentences shows a clear global trend toward abolition of the penalty.

Not a deterrent

The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Amnesty opposes it in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect than prison terms. This has been confirmed in numerous United Nations studies across different countries and regions.

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