In a significant move towards advancing human rights, Ghana’s parliament voted on Tuesday to abolish the death penalty, becoming the latest of several African nations to repeal capital punishment in recent years.
Though no executions have been carried out in Ghana since 1993, there were still 176 people on death row as of last year, according to the Ghana prisons service.
The new bill, as stated in a parliamentary committee report, will amend the state’s Criminal Offences Act to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment.
However, for the law to take effect, it requires the assent of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Francis-Xavier Sosu, the parliamentarian who tabled the bill, hailed the decision as a significant advancement in Ghana’s human rights record.
He pointed out that extensive research, including constitutional reviews and opinion polls, indicated that a majority of Ghanaians supported the removal of the death penalty.
Ghana’s move marks its position as the 29th country in Africa and the 124th globally to abolish capital punishment. The Death Penalty Project, a London-based NGO, noted that it had collaborated with partners in Ghana to help bring about this change.
The abolition of the death penalty has been a growing trend in Africa, with countries like Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Zambia also ending capital punishment within the last two years.
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