ACAT Holds Engagement Meeting with Journalists on Abolition of Death Penalty

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Journalists at the Egagamant meeting organized by ACAT-Liberia

The Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) in partnership with FIAT has concluded a one-day engagement with media practitioners.

The one-day media engagement was intended to enlighten the minds of journalists to be aware and informed as well become part of national and international efforts to abolish the death penalty.  

The meeting, which was held on October 17, 2020, in Monrovia, brought together over 15 journalists who have a key role to play in the transformation process of the country.

Speaking during the meetings, Dale N. Tokpah, President of ACAT-Liberia, said it is important to intensify the process of engaging journalists who will keep reminding people through their various platforms about what needs to be done.

Mr. Tokpah noted that in observance of the World day against the death penalty, ACAT-Liberia stands against two things which include the fight against torture and the fight against the death penalty.  “We want to be on par with our counterpart, and so the issues of the death penalty were done by proclamation in the context of Liberia.”

According to Tokpah, everyone must first understand that the death penalty is a human rights issue in the context of Liberia, therefore, it is the obligation of Liberia with respect to international treaties that they signed regarding the issues of the death penalty and this is why we in Liberia must take it seriously.

“It is important to note that promise is a debt which Liberia must be able to fulfill; this is while we want to remind you as media personnel to be able to play your informative role.”

He acknowledged that Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations, and was part of the signatories that founded the UN and so the human rights documents signed in 1948.

He clarified that if Liberia will put up a posture that portrays it in ways and manner that will not befit a sovereign state, it will not mean well for us in the eyes of the international community.

He stressed that in the absence of the media, most of the changes that are happening now would not have taken place and most of the people that the changes should affect would not have benefited.

FIACAT commemoration of the 18th World Day Against the Death Penalty and the 30th anniversaries of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession, the members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute are coming together to make a declaration.

FIACAT is an international non-governmental human rights organization set up in 1987, which works towards the abolition of torture and the death penalty.

“I will call this a responsibility on the part of the media; because the world including Liberia has made no mistake to call you watchdog or members of the fourth estate.”

Indicating that the media is like the fourth branch of government, it is an authority that has a responsibility to inform accurately and educate in order to bring the needed change to Liberian

However, the meeting with media practitioners was also in recognition of the International World Day against Death Penalty. It is celebrated each year October 10. The day was first organized by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty in 2003. It is a day to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and to raise awareness of the conditions and the circumstances which affect prisoners with death sentences

There are several countries around the world that are members of the institution or group that is called the world coalition against the death penalty, its members including some of the partnering organizations and one of the partners is Federation International of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture.  

Since the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has influenced how the abolitionist community is able to advocate and defend the abolition of capital punishment.

Thousands of those sentenced to death, along with their families and support networks, are left vulnerable as prison and judiciary systems around the world grapple with the implications of the COVID-19 crisis. It is now more important than ever to stay active and vigilant for the abolition of the death penalty.

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