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07:54 Δευτέρα
25 Μαρτίου 2019
EP hosts conference on abolition of death penalty
  25 Φεβρουαρίου 2019, 10:45 πμ  

The opening ceremony of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty will be held in the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 February.

The World Congress Against the Death Penalty, organised by ECPM (Together against the Death Penalty) from February 26 to March 1, is the world’s leading abolitionist event, and brings together more than 1000 stakeholders from over 140 countries.

The official opening ceremony will take place in the European Parliament’s hemicycle on Wednesday at 10.00. It will gather MEPs, high-level guests including EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders, and various governmental and civil society representatives to reflect on positive efforts in the abolition movement and address what future work must be done to convince retentionist nations to abolish the death penalty.

The ceremony will also feature a panel of Ministers of Justice from non-abolitionist countries, as well as video messages from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and a driving force behind the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981, and Pope Francis. See detailed conference programme.

An exhibition (The Great Witness of Abolition) and sculpture installation (Chaise LXB) will be displayed in the Menuhin Hall in the European Parliament’s Paul-Henri Spaak building from today to Friday.


The European Union and its member states oppose capital punishment and its abolition is an explicit requirement to join the EU.

By 2017, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, leaving 56 countries still using capital punishment. There were at least 993 recorded executions in 23 countries (excluding China, where thousands of executions are believed to have been carried out), with more than 20,000 people on death row.

Some 84% of all recorded executions in 2017 took place in four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan. Figures are unknown for China, since this data is a state secret. (Source Amnesty International)

There is strong opposition to abolishing the death penalty in Asia, the Arab World and the US. However, four fifths of the 55 African countries have abolished capital punishment or operate moratoriums.
How the EU fights the death penalty

As part of its commitment to defending human rights, the EU is the largest donor in the fight against death penalty worldwide. All EU countries have abolished the death penalty in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The EU fights to abolish the death penalty in a number of ways:
  • It prohibits trade in goods that can be used for torture and execution
  • It uses trade policy to encourage compliance with human rights
  • It supports civil society organisations in countries with the death penalty that raise awareness, monitor and document the situation
  • As a permanent observer in the UN, it is a vocal supporter of any measures to end the death penalty
In addition the European Parliament adopts resolutions and hosts debates condemning the actions of countries that still use capital punishment. A 2015 resolution on the death penalty condemned its use to suppress opposition, or on grounds of religious belief, homosexuality or adultery.

Belarus is the only country in Europe that continues to carry out executions. There is a moratorium in Russia.
  Edited by Bouli Hadjioannou