Burkina Faso: Abolition of death penalty a hard-won victory

Reacting to the news that Burkina Faso's parliament has adopted a new penal code that effectively abolishes the death penalty, Yves Traoré, Director of Amnesty International Burkina Faso 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.

"Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime, and Amnesty International calls on other countries to follow Burkina Faso's steps and outlaw this punishment immediately."

Background

The last known execution in Burkina Faso was in 1988. Over the course of the last twenty years, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Togo in West Africa, alongside the Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Gabon, Rwanda and Madagascar have all abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect than prison terms. This has been confirmed in many United Nations studies across different countries and regions.