11th World Day against Death Penalty (10 October 2013)
The death penalty is not useful in the fight against crime. The loss of human life it implies is irreversible and no legal system can be immune from a miscarriage of justice. Far from being only a criminal policy instrument, the use of the death penalty is also a violation of human rights.
The abolition of the death penalty is a highly symbolic cause that brings to mind the universality of human rights. The global awareness in favor of abolishing the death penalty is increasing on all continents, whatever the political regime, the development level or the cultural heritage.
Universal abolition of the death penalty is a long term fight and progress can be seen all over the world. These past few years, the fight against the death penalty has seen many victories, with more countries abolishing it and a trend decrease in the number of death sentences and executions all over the world. In 20 years over fifty States are now de jure abolitionists.
To date 99 States have abolished the death penalty for all types of crimes, 8 have abolished it for common crimes and 33 are implementing a moratorium on executions. 40 States in total have abolished this punishment, whether de facto or de jure. By contrast the death penalty is still in use in 58 States and territories.
A resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2012. This text has been presented by 90 States from all over the world, including France and its European partners. It has been adopted by the largest ever majority (111 member States). This confirms the strengthening of international mobilization and the existence of a global trend towards abolishing the death penalty.
France’s commitment in favor of the universal abolition of the death penalty is strong and lasting. This is one of its priorities with regards to Human rights in all relevant international fora. It is also a priority for the European Union.
Established in 2003 at the initiative of the civil society, the World Day against the Death Penalty, held for the 11th time on 10 October 2013, has been officially recognized by the European Union and the Council of Europe in 2007.