Amnesty International Ghana welcomes the news that the death penalty in Ghana has been abolished by the Parliament of Ghana through the amendment of the Criminal Offences Act during its sitting on 25th July 2023.
Since 1985 Amnesty International Ghana has been campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana. The abolition of the death penalty was initially recommended by the Constitutional Review Commission, however this proved to be a challenge because of the need of a referendum. Consequently, Amnesty International Ghana contacted Martin Kpebu, a private legal practitioner and a Human Rights Advocate, who proposed a statutory amendment to Act 29. Consequentially Honourable Fracis Xavier Sosu, MP for Madina led the process and initiated a private members bill to ensure the death penalty is abolished for ordinary crimes. The death penalty breaches fundamental human rights, including the right to life which cannot be reverted even when an alleged person is exonerated. The Coalition sees the abolition of the death penalty as a further step by Ghana towards respecting all rights protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations in 1948.
We commend the Speaker of the 8th Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, The Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin under whose leadership the death penalty has been abolished and Hon. Francis Xavier Sosu, MP for Madina for initiating and tirelessly leading the process on this very important human rights issue, leading up to its passing. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage Parliament to similarly pass the proposed amendments on the Armed Forces Act.
The journey to abolish the death penalty would not have been complete without the support of our stakeholders and partners who share the same vision with us during all levels of engagement: Catholic Bishops Conference; Action Chapel; World Miracle Outreach; POS Foundation; African Center for International Law and Accountability; Ghana Center for Democratic Development; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; Legal Resources Center; Action by Christians against Torture; Africa Institute for Crime, Policy and Governance Research; Human Rights Reporters Ghana; World Vision Ghana; Human Rights Advocacy Center; Crime Check Foundation; Extra Helping Hands Foundation; Women in Law and Development in Ghana (WiLDAF) and Ghana Integrity Initiative.
Abolishing the death penalty for ordinary crimes is not just a win for Ghana, it’s a win for humanityGenevieve Partington, Country Director Amnesty International Ghana
We commend the Justices of the Supreme Court for their important interventions. The Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and the Director for Human Rights at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for their invaluable support throughout the campaign. We also acknowledge the various roles played by the Ghana Armed Forces and Ghana Prisons Service. We acknowledge all other groups and individuals that played a crucial role in this campaign including members of Amnesty International.
We finally commend the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo, for his indispensable role in this process and leading Ghana to vote for the first time in favour of the 9th resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2022. We would like to now call on the President to sign it into law, commute all death sentences to prison terms and establish an official moratorium on executions.
The Coalition looks forward to engaging with the State, CSOs and the media in the nest steps following the abolition, we shall continue to work to improve human rights environment including prison conditions.
We thank the media for the important work they continue to do.