Categorized | National News

Congress Provides Hope for Death Penalty Abolition

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – The global call to end the death penalty was made as the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty opened its conference in Brussels, Belgium last Wednesday, with hopes of moving closer to the universal abolition of the death penalty.

In his address at the opening ceremony, Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) Director Raphael Chenuil-Hazan said it is his hope that sooner or later, the United Nations secretary general would solemnly announce the universal abolition of the death penalty, introducing a world free of capital punishment. 

“It is time for the 21st century to be the century of the universal abolition of the death penalty,” Chenuil-Hazan said.  “If you doubt this, look at the support for the states for a moratorium at the UN General Assembly.  Three quarters of the states represented in the United Nations support this resolution to ban the death penalty.”

The congress seeks to sensitize the more than 1,000 participants, including abolitionists and politicians, about the consequences of the death penalty, as it is not a deterrent to crime.  

Chenuil-Hazan pointed out that the abolition of the death penalty is a good political investment for countries wanting to move away from severe practice of capital punishment.

“It is an act of honour,” he said. “No country has backpedaled. Once the death penalty is on the statute book, the countries don’t backslide, public opinion follows.”

As countries around the world continue to join the trend and abolish the death penalty, 2018 is considered as a year that brought positive changes to this movement.

In her address at the opening ceremony, Frederica Mogherini, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, highlighted the positive changes in 2018 that are steps toward the universal abolition of the death penalty.

“In January 2018, Gambia’s president declared a moratorium,” Mogherini explained.  “In August last year, the Catholic Church declared the death penalty inadmissible in all circumstances with no exception, sending in its way a message to all Catholic believers all around the world, and in October, the state of Washington became the 20th abolitionist state in the U.S. And last but not least, in December the UN resolution calling for a moratorium on executions was voted by the largest majority of countries ever.

“Almost every single month we had a good encouraging news.  Let’s try to have a 2019 that’s even better than 2018 in terms of positive results.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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