This 29-month project (2012–2015) campaigned for the progressive abolition of the death penalty and its replacement with humane alternative sanctions in 10 countries in four regions: the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and East Africa.
The project objectives were to:
- Support governments and other stakeholders to move towards abolition of the death penalty, including establishing moratoria on death sentences and executions, reducing the number of crimes that attract the death penalty, reducing the number of death sentences passed, abolishing mandatory death sentences, and improving conditions on death row.
- Following abolition or a moratorium, to work with governments to introduce fair and proportionate sentences which respect international human rights standards.
- Lobby states to ratify relevant international human rights instruments regarding the use of the death penalty.
- Challenge society’s attitudes towards the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole.
- Work with governments to improve conditions of detention for those facing a death sentence, on death row or serving a life- or long-term sentence, and raise awareness that all prisoners are entitled to the same rights regardless of their sentence.
- Raise awareness that the death penalty is often used as a tool of repression and used discriminately against certain groups.
- Strengthen human rights advocacy at the international level, in particular to engage the UN and other international governmental organisations in a debate and dialogue as to how best to progressively restrict the application of the death penalty, and to protect the rights of those sentenced to life imprisonment as a vulnerable category of prisoner.
The project countries were Belarus, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Russia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda. The East Africa section of the programme was managed by PRI’s partner, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), based in Kampala, Uganda.
Download a detailed project summary in English, Arabic, or Russian.
The programme was evaluated in April 2015 by external evaluators – read the evaluation here.
The programme was funded under the European Union’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), and by the UK Government and the Government of Switzerland. It was the third phase of a programme of work undertaken by PRI on abolition of the death penalty, building on work completed under two previous multi-regional projects (2007–2009 and 2010–2012), also funded by the EIDHR.