Ahead of the World and European Day against the Death Penalty (10 October), the 47-nation Council of Europe and the 28-member European Union have issued a joint declaration underlining their firm opposition to capital punishment and calling on countries across Europe to move towards abolition.
The declaration from Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, points out that no Council of Europe or EU member states have carried out executions since 1997.
It also calls on those European countries which have not yet done so to ratify 2 protocols to the European Convention on Human Rights which aim to abolish the death penalty.
"On the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the Council of Europe and the European Union reaffirm their strong opposition to capital punishment. The death penalty is inhuman and degrading treatment, does not have any proven significant deterrent effect, and allows judicial errors to become irreversible and fatal.
No execution has been carried out in our member states for 18 years. The Council of Europe and the European Union urge all European States to ratify the protocols to the European Convention on Human Rights which aim at the abolition of the death penalty.
The Council of Europe and the European Union deplore the continuing use of the death penalty in Belarus. They strongly urge the authorities of Belarus to commute the remaining death sentences and establish without delay a formal moratorium on executions as a 1st step towards abolition of the death penalty.
The Council of Europe and the European Union note with concern that the number of executions of persons for drug offences has increased during the last year in the few states that apply the death penalty to those offences. Both Organizations are particularly alarmed when this involves the execution of minors, which is contrary to international law. It is all the closer to heart because some European citizens have been executed in 2015 and others are still on death row for drug-related offences.
The Council of Europe and the European Union welcome the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty adopted on 18 December 2014. With an increasing number of votes in favour of that resolution compared to the previous four resolutions of this kind, and with almost 2/3 of countries in the world having abolished the death penalty in either law or practice, there exists now a clear global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment," is said in a joint Declaration by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland.
Source: Panorama.am, October 9, 2015
Amnesty International USA Statement on 2015 World Day Against the Death Penalty
The 13th annual World Day Against the Death Penalty will take place on Saturday, October 10th. Activists and organizations will hold events around the globe to call for the universal abolition of capital punishment.
In recognition of the day, Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:
"In just the past few weeks, three people have been sent to the death chambers in the United States. One of those executed did not commit the murder she was sentenced to die for, and another showed strong signs of intellectual disability.
"The tally nearly reached 4 executions in just over a week's time, but for the bungling of an execution in Oklahoma. The state procured the wrong drug to kill the prisoner, only realizing the mistake at the very last minute. Now the state's Attorney General is investigating what went wrong.
"In fact, just about everything is wrong with the capital punishment system. It's fundamentally broken and should be ended once and for all.
"Thankfully the death penalty is in decline in the United States and around the world. Last year, executions in the United States were at a 20-year low, and death sentences were at their lowest level since 1976. What's more, 19 states plus the District of Columbia have banned capital punishment, and 7 other states have not carried out an execution in 10 years.
"It's really just a handful of states that are still aggressively pursuing executions. Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, in particular, are moving further and further away from national standards of decency. Globally, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, and only 22 carried out executions last year.
"The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The United States cannot practice it and claim to be a human rights leader on the global stage. Now is the time to end capital punishment for good."
Source: Amnesty International USA, October 9, 2015
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