Skip to main content

France Re-Initiates Death Penalty Abolition Campaign

Published on March 7, 2013

One day before the World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10, France’s foreign ministry held a series of events to mark the beginning of the country’s goal of abolishing the practice worldwide.

"It’s an issue dear to our hearts because the death penalty is inefficient, irreversible and inhumane," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, in an interview with the France24 network.

The project will be conducted among the world’s leading international organizations, notably the United Nations.

Minister Fabius previously convened a high-level meeting on September 27, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s opening week.

Held in partnership with civil society groups and some 50 participating countries, Mr. Fabius co-chaired the event, called "The Death Penalty: From Moratorium to Abolition," with Nassirou Arifari Bako, the foreign minister from Benin. The West African country is the most recent to ratify legislation that will ultimately render capital punishment illegal there.

France’s engagement runs parallel to a busy schedule of future anti-death penalty summits, including a regional meeting in Rabat, Morocco in October 2012, a U.N. appeal for global abolition to be issued later this fall, and the fifth World Conference Against the Death Penalty, planned for June 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

The minister also met with Kirk Bloodsworth, an American activist and former Death Row inmate exonerated in 1993 after DNA research established his innocence. France formally abolished the practice in 1981 and has since led vigorous efforts to make the punitive measure a thing of the past.

In a statement delivered by the French foreign ministry after the September 27 meeting in New York, France urged all nations that practice the death penalty to "observe moratoriums with a view to definitive abolition."

For more on French efforts to abolish the death penalty at the United Nations, please click here.

For more from France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here.

Related articles:

- Statement on the forthcoming abolition of the death penalty in Maryland. (March 18, 2013)
- First IACHR hearing on the death penalty (March 7, 2013)