The Abolitionist of the Year Award

15 March 2017 :


To Jean Ping

Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Before being elected Chairman of the African Union Commission in February of 2008, Jean Ping was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon. During his mandate, the Government of Gabon approved and presented a bill in Parliament abolishing the death penalty in the country and went on to distinguish itself as both a co-sponsor and protagonist in the battle at the United Nations in New York that saw to the success, in December of 2007, of the Resolution for a Universal Moratorium on Capital Punishment.

Since then, the most significant steps towards the abolition of the death penalty have been taken in Africa and, in particular, within the countries which have been an evidential source of the martyrdom of this continent, but also of its will to heal its conflicts, embrace democracy and launch a message of nonviolence and tolerance.

In the last two years, capital punishment has been eliminated in Rwanda, Burundi and Togo, however in the first two countries the abolition of the death penalty took on extraordinary symbolic value as well as legal and political value, being lands where, perhaps, the perpetual cycle of vengeance and the eternal drama of Cain and Abel played itself out most presently and most tragically.