BOTSWANA: AU body calls for end to death penalty
GABORONE, 2 March (IRIN) - The African Commission on Human and People's
Rights (ACHPR) has called on Botswana to end its enforcement of "inhuman
and degrading" corporal and capital punishment.
Bahame Nyanduga, who heads ACHPR, was in Botswana last week, where he said
the country had yet to report to the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights on the mechanisms it has put in place to promote and protect
individual rights. The charter was established by the then Organisation of
African Unity in 1986.
"We have been trying to advise the Botswana government to look into the
possibility of introducing other methods that are humane and less
degrading, like community service," Nyanduga said.
By not making submissions, Botswana had failed to give the commission a
better understanding of the problems it was encountering in trying to turn
the provisions of the charter into reality, he commented. Countries that
have ratified the charter are required to submit a report every two years
on measures they have taken to implement ACHPR's provisions.
"Most African Union (AU) member states misconstrue the state reporting
system as a forum meant to embarrass them," Nyanduga noted.
Botswana also owes reports to the UN conventions on the elimination of
torture, as well as on racial discrimination, and civil and political
Nyanduga pointed out that Botswana had ratified conventions which contravened the country's laws, as they ban the death penalty and corporal
The British government joined the ACHPR in criticising Botswana. David
Merry, the British High Commissioner to Botswana, said his country and the
European Union had been trying to persuade the government to end corporal
punishment and the death penalty.
However, Botswana has defended its position on both issues, saying this
was the will of its citizens.
IRIN - [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United