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Extrajudicial executions: exploring synergies between African and United Nations human rights mechanisms

PRETORIA (27 July 2013) – The Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa, and Mr. Christof Heyns, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, held a joint meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, on 26 and 27 July 2013. This meeting was the first to be convened between the two counterparts, after the decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in October 2012 to extend the mandate of its Working Group on the Death Penalty to include issues of unlawful killings.

The meeting aimed at exploring options for cooperation between the two mechanisms with the common aim of strengthening efforts to prevent and reduce unlawful killings on the African continent. The parties discussed the patterns of unlawful killings and the situation of the death penalty in African countries, as well as priorities for their future work.

“We trust that this first meeting offered an unique opportunity for both mechanisms to reflect on possible future avenues for cooperation. While keeping in mind the independence and the different scopes of both mandates, the objective of our work is common: to monitor the situation of unlawful killings in Africa and identify effective recommendations for their prevention and reduction. A regular exchange of information and developing other ways of joint work will constitute important elements to further strengthen efforts to protect the supreme right to life from both regional and global perspectives”, said Ms. Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi, Chairperson of the Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa, and Mr. Christof Heyns, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.