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February 6 2011

Press Release: The Community of Sant'Egidio welcomes the abolition of the death penalty in Tunisia

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Tunisia has abolished the death penalty. It is the first country in North Africa in making this decision. The Tunisian new course begins with a significant gesture of openness and promotion of human rights.
The Tunisian Council of Ministers approved February 4, 2011 a series of international conventions and non-binding protocols relating, in particular, to the abolition of the death penalty, combating torture and the protection of persons against enforced disappearances.
The Community of Sant'Egidio, for many years engaged in the battle for the abolition of the death penalty in the world and in Africa, welcomed the historic decision of the new Tunisian government as an important gesture of openness and protection and promotion of human rights .
This is a historic step in that part of Africa and indicates a method: the need to prevent divisions and foster a deep and true national reconciliation process must escape the death penalty and show respect for life, even of the opponent and of those who are considered guilty of a crime. It's the basis for an end to violence, even at the level of civil society.
Tunisia's currently sentenced to death by hanging are 130, including four women. The last sentence was executed in October 1991. The death sentences are turned into the hard life imprisonment.

The Community of Sant'Egidio hopes that the example of Tunisia, such as that of Togo and Gabon in Africa, that have recently abolished the death penalty, may encourage other African countries on the path of the abolition of capital punishment, and lead Africa to become the second continent after Europe without the death penalty


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