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World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10, 2013)

World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10, 2013)

Published on October 9, 2013
On the occasion of the 11th World Day against the Death Penalty, France reaffirms its resolute and constant commitment to the universal abolition of this cruel and inhuman punishment.

Read also:
Joint article by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Vice-President of the Moroccan House of Representatives and the Director of Ensemble contre la peine de mort [Together Against the Death Penalty], published in The Huffington Post
 

Mr. Laurent Fabius expressed his views at 11:30 am at the National Assembly, during the first seminar on the death penalty bringing together parliamentarians from the Middle East region and North Africa. This event was jointly organized by the National Assembly, the Senate and the association, Together against the Death Penalty.

In a joint article published today and penned together with Ms. Khadija Rouissi, Deputy Speaker of the Moroccan Chamber of Representatives and Coordinator of the Moroccan Parliamentarian Network Against the Death Penalty, and Mr. Chenuil-Hazan, Director-General of Together against the Death Penalty, Mr. Laurent Fabius reaffirms the key role that parliamentarians around the world must play in promoting the abolition of the death penalty.

In addition, the minister today launched an appeal for the universal abolition of the death penalty, together with other Council of Europe member states, while this year we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.

The French diplomatic network is mobilized throughout the world in support of the campaign for the universal abolition of the death penalty launched by the minister of foreign affairs in October 2012. Our embassies and cultural centers regularly organize a variety of actions: conferences, activities aimed at increasing public and media awareness.

Within the UN, France is using its influence to strengthen the global trend in support of a moratorium on executions. It supports the adoption of resolutions presented in New York and Geneva. On September 27 in New York, the minister chaired, together with his counterparts from Benin, Costa Rica and Mongolia, an event on the role of regional organizations in the abolitionist movement.

Lastly, France pays tribute to the determined efforts of human rights defenders and NGOs, whose mobilization is critical to this struggle.

 

Joint article by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Vice-President of the Moroccan House of Representatives and the Director of Ensemble contre la peine de mort [Together Against the Death Penalty], published in The Huffington Post

Paris, 10 October 2013

Ineffective against crime, unjust, never free of mistakes and yet irreparable, the death penalty is a failure of justice. However, every year throughout the world, thousands of women and men are sentenced to capital punishment. Over the past few decades, the death penalty has declined. Two thirds of the planet’s states have abolished it or adopted a moratorium.

But damning figures remain: 58 countries still apply it and several states (including Indonesia, Kuwait and Nigeria) have recently gone back on their moratoriums. In view of this situation, we must act and unite the energy of all those states, elected representatives, media outlets, intellectuals, civil society organizations, activists and citizens who want to make progress in the long struggle for the universal abolition of the death penalty.

In France, abolition was an act of courage by a few men, then by a government and a parliament. History has remembered the date of 10 October 1981, the day when the act abolishing the death penalty was published in the Journal officiel, but we too often overlook the decisive action of members of parliament who, over the past two centuries since 1789, have tirelessly put abolition on the assemblies’ agenda. Along with voluntary organizations and intellectuals, they have breathed life into the movement against the death penalty and made headway in raising awareness of its inhumanity.

France has, like about 100 states, abolished the death penalty, in the name of a certain idea of human dignity. Three decades after abolition, experience confirms that the death penalty has no deterrent effect on crime. The majority of French people have today accepted abolition. We are continuing the struggle at global level. France has made abolition a great cause of its external action, and to this end it mobilizes its whole diplomatic network.

Members of parliament, who are at the heart of public debate and legislative processes, have a crucial role to play in furthering abolition. In this spirit, the Réseau des parlementaires contre la peine de mort au Maroc [Network of members of parliament against the death penalty in Morocco] (RPCPM) was created in Rabat on 26 February. Bringing together more than 200 members of parliament of all political affiliations, the network – the only one of its kind – seeks to develop consensus on abolition. It is the only structure of this kind but does not intend to remain so. An international appeal for members of parliament from all over the world was also made at the Fifth World Congress organized by Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM) [Together Against the Death Penalty] in Madrid in June.

This week, about 100 members of parliament, leaders of voluntary organizations and journalists from North Africa and the Middle East are meeting in Paris with the RPCPM. Invited by the organization Ensemble contre la peine de mort, the Foreign Ministry, National Assembly and Senate, they came from the Maghreb and Mashriq with the desire to initiate joint dialogue and work on the death penalty. They share an aspiration for reform, in a region where civil society is showing a fresh vitality that is energizing public debate. The values uniting the two shores of the Mediterranean include respect for human dignity, of which the abolition of the death penalty is an integral part.

We know the road to abolition is a long one. We know there is demanding work to do. Each situation is different. But we also know that, in the light of our shared ideals of justice and human dignity, every death sentence is one death sentence too many. That is why we shall continue the battle for universal abolition. We call on all members of parliament in the countries where the death penalty is still in force to play their full role in this./.

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