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December 10 2013

The dream of an Africa without the death penalty

The Cities for Life and the commitment against all forms of violence in the African continent

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On the occasion of the Cities for Life International Day, on last 30 November, the Communities of Sant'Egidio in Africa made ​​numerous public events in different cities across the continent to promote a new culture of life against the death penalty, lynchings and all forms of violence. During the last few years an increasing number of African countries have embarked on the road of the abolition of capital punishment. It is a battle of civilization that, along with Sant'Egidio, sees the involvement all those who struggle to realise a dream: to make Africa into the next abolitionist continent.
We publish below a few pictures of the events promoted by Sant'Egidio in several African countries.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
In Douala, a march through the streets of the city that ended with the lighting of a few torches in memory of those sentenced to death.
The Community of Sant'Egidio of Douala, in cooperation with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese, has also organised meetings and conferences in the city jail and in a few schools and parishes, where many young people have been able to discuss the issue of the death penalty and violence.
The Cities for Life International Day was also the opportunity for some local football teams to take the field to support the fight against the death penalty, lynchings and all forms of violence.
In Goma, at a conference on justice, peace and reconciliation in the Great Lakes Region, the Community of Sant'Egidio expressed the need for dialogue to build peace and finish all violence in the African continent. The meeting was attended by The Congolese government authorities, including President of the Republic Denis Sassou Nguesso, and representatives from other countries in the region, together with representatives of the Catholic and the Anglican Churches.
  InGoma and Bukavu, there were also demonstrations where some of the most significant monuments of the two cities were illuminated, to say in one voice that "there is no justice without life".
In Bujumbura, the capital, the Community of Sant'Egidio has organised a series of conferences and meetings on the death penalty. It has been four years now since Burundi definitively abolished the death penalty, becoming a model for many African States that have embarked on the path of abolition.

Although the last capital execution in the country dates back to 1992, the death penalty is still present in the legal system of Malawi. The abolition of the death penalty is a
much-debated topic in the country. The Community of Sant'Egidio is committed to this battle of civilization, by raising public awareness on the inhumanity of capital punishment. On 30 November, on the occasion of the Cities for Life Day, public meetings and demonstrations were an opportunity to reaffirm the NO to the death penalty, and the hope that Malawi walks more and more towards the abolition of capital punishment, thus making a choice for life.

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