08 April 2009 :Oliviero Toscani will contribute an African version of the famous 'We, on the death row' campaign from 2000, against the death penalty in the United States, to the Hands Off Cain project for the abolition of capital punishment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The famous Italian photographer will coordinate, under the project financed 50% by the Cooperation for development, a seminar that will be held in Kinshasa from the 9th to the 12th of June. The seminar will involve around 50 Congolese journalists, technicians, photographers, TV, radio and print advertisers, to raise awareness and influence public opinion on the abolition of the death penalty.
In a press conference held in Montecitorio, Hands Off Cain secretary Sergio D’Elia noted that the African country is in practice abolitionist: the last executions were in 2003. Since then, president Joseph Kabila has been committed to stopping executions (including the assassins of Father Laurent already sentenced to death) and a proposed abolitionist law was presented in Parliament.
'But the reform of the penal code isn't enough, we need to change public opinion. People still see the death penalty as an instrument of atonement and as a deterrent,' Chantal Kanyimbo, president of the Congolese Press Association, said when presenting the initiative. The Association is supporting the project together with the RAI Social Secretary.
For Senate Vice President Emma Bonino, it is “an ambitious project that could make the Democratic Republic of Congo a symbol: if the results are positive, it could be a stimulus to the other African countries to move towards the abolition of the death penalty.”
"The Cooperation for development must take the appropriate action not only in the economic arena, even more so in times of crisis and financial hardship. Commitment to the development of culture, democracy and the state of rights is just as important,” Bonino emphasised.