[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Feb 7 06:07:38 UTC 2007
UK criticised over executions
Tony Blair's desire to keep on side with the United States could scupper
efforts to outlaw the death penalty worldwide, according to one of the
campaigners against capital punishment.
With Italy seeking support from the United Nations for a worldwide
moratorium on execution, British reluctance to back the campaign has
infuriated opponents of the death penalty.
Marco Cappato, an Italian MEP and campaigner for a moratorium, told The
Independent: "I don't think that Tony Blair is against abolishing the
death penalty. But if he doesn't change his diplomatic resistance there is
a risk of becoming responsible for the failure of a worldwide moratorium."
Mr Cappato is a colleague of Marco Pannella, the Italian civil rights
campaigner who went on hunger strike after hearing that Saddam Hussein was
to be executed.
Britain's caution over the issue is, Mr Cappato said, because of "the wish
for a good relationship" with Washington. However, he argued that even in
the US there are growing doubts about capital punishment.
Mr Pannella's campaign prompted the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi,
to put the proposal before the UN's general assembly. But Britain was one
of the countries which did not back it.
Diplomats said that while Britain opposes the death penalty, it was
sceptical about getting a resolution through the UN.
The last effort to win a UN-sanctioned moratorium failed by a narrow
margin. However, Mr Cappato said 45 countries had switched sides since
A British official said: "The UK is signed up to the EU's common position
on the death penalty and pursues this diplomatically at all levels.
Discussions within the EU on how to proceed are still under way."
(source: Belfast Telegraph)
Final declaration of the 3rd World Congress against the Death Penalty
Paris, 1-3 February 2007
Assembled in Paris from 1 to 3 February 2007, on the initiative of
Ensemble contre la peine de mort (Together against the Death Penalty),
supported by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty,
We, citizens and representatives of civil society and public authorities,
meeting in even greater number than at the first 2 World Congresses
against the Death Penalty in Strasbourg in 2001 and Montreal in 2004,
adopt this Declaration at the conclusion of discussions involving some 30
debates as well as testimonies, analyses and exchanges of experiences and
We welcome the fact that the death penalty is receding in the world and
that since the Montreal Congress Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mexico, the
Philippines and Senegal have abolished capital punishment, while no
country has re-introduced it. We regret that, during the same period, some
countries have resumed executions after prolonged moratoria, such as
Bahrain in 2006, and that the death penalty is still applied on a large
scale in a number of countries including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the
United States and Vietnam. We strongly condemn the initiatives in some
abolitionist countries to reintroduce the death penalty and demand in
particular that the Peruvian authorities renounce this effort.
We recognise that the process of abolition must be accompanied by a better
consideration of the needs of victims and by an in-depth reflection on
penal policy and prison systems, in the framework of an equitable and
We demand with one voice the end throughout the world of justice that
kills. No authority has the right to strike out a person's life. We recall
that the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, that
it is contrary to human rights, that it has no utility in the fight
against crime, and that it always represents a failure of justice.
The 3rd World Congress against the Death Penalty adopts the following
1. We call on all countries to abolish the death penalty and to ratify
international and regional abolitionist treaties, especially the Second
Optional Protocol to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political
2. Following on from the statement at the UN General Assembly in December
2006, which was supported by an unprecedented number of countries from
around the world, we solemnly appeal to all states of the world to stop
all executions immediately.
Recognizing the great value that a successful resolution adopted by the UN
General Assembly would have for the abolition of the death penalty
worldwide, we invite the member states of the United Nations to take all
necessary steps to ensure the adoption by the General Assembly of a
- calling for an immediate and universal moratorium on death sentences and
executions and the commutation of existing death sentences, with a view to
the universal abolition of the death penalty;
- recalling that the death penalty violates human rights and fundamental
- encouraging the UN, its member states, and other relevant international,
regional and sub-regional organisations to support the implementation of
this moratorium, including through mobilizing resources and expertise.
We call on the citizens of the world to sign the petition, launched by the
Sant'Egidio Community and supported by the World Coalition against Death
Penalty, which has already attracted over 5 million signatures, in favour
of a worldwide moratorium on executions.
3. We welcome the presence in Paris of many abolitionists from North
Africa and the Middle East and their efforts to create national,
sub-regional and regional coalitions. We hail the initiatives taken in
Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan towards abolition and call on the countries of
the region to abolish the death penalty.
4. Welcoming the presence in Paris of Chinese abolitionists, we call on
the Chinese government, in the prospect of the Beijing Olympic Games in
2008 and the Shanghai Universal Exposition in 2010, to establish an
immediate moratorium on executions with the objective of progressively
abolishing the death penalty, and in particular to remove non-violent
offences, including economic and drug offences, from the scope of capital
As, moreover, the Chinese Supreme Court from 1 January 2007 is to review
all death sentences imposed by courts of first instance, we call on the
Chinese authorities to remove the secrecy surrounding the administration
of the death penalty.
5. We welcome the fact that, since the Strasbourg Congress in 2001, the
world abolitionist movement has structured itself, with full respect for
the diversity of its members, around the World Coalition against the Death
Penalty, which was created in 2002 and now includes over 50 organisations.
We call on organisations and institutions that share the objective of
abolition non-governmental organisations, bar associations, trade unions
and local governments - to join the World Coalition.
We call on abolitionists of the whole world to take part each year in the
World Day against the Death Penalty, which will focus in 2007 on China in
the Prospect of the Olympic Games and in 2008 on Teaching Abolition. We
call on all regional and international organisations, and the European
Union in particular, to adopt 10 October as an official day in favour of
We call on the cities of the world to take part in Cities for Life on 30
November each year.
Finally, we call on members of parliament of the whole world, whose powers
include that of voting for abolition, to sign this Declaration.
(source: World Congress to Abolish the Death Penalty, Paris, 3 February
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