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[Press Release] Towards a Universal Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty

février 2010

[français] [français]

25th february 2010

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty [1] has produced a detailed report on the strategies, arguments and perspectives for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The report emphasises the important and necessary role moratorium plays in advancing universal abolition.

Fittingly and purposefully, this report is being released just before the 4th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva (24th – 26th of February). The 4th World Congress will assemble abolitionists from around the world and give them the opportunity to canvass ideas and strategies for fighting the death penalty. One of the main topics of discussion will be that of moratorium.

At present, there are 58 countries where the death penalty is still applied ; of which 25 execute prisoners each year. Nevertheless, hope remains as there is a clear and indisputable trend towards abolition. Recent history has seen 104 countries abolish the death penalty and there are currently 35 countries that have a moratorium on executions.

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty was created in 2002 to promote universal abolition by all means – including specific and universal moratorium. The report points out that the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty would like to see more countries support the upcoming UN General Assembly resolution for a moratorium in December 2010.

One of the countries detailed in the report is the USA. This country has already had an interesting moratorium history. In 1972 the Supreme Court (in Furman v Georgia) ordered a moratorium for a revision of capital punishment legislation. This moratorium lasted 4 years and resulted in the abolition of the death penalty in many states.

Unfortunately many states re-implemented their death penalty legislation. Even so, it did open the eyes of legislatures on this issue. Since this moratorium, there have been more and more calls for abolition and moratorium. Currently there are moratorium bills in progress in both Alabama and Missouri.

On the 10th of October this year the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty will dedicate the World Day Against the Death Penalty to the USA to further its work on moratorium and abolition.

Countries covered in report ; Algeria, Belarus, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kazakstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea, Togo, USA.


[1] Steering Committee members : Amnesty International, Arab Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Collectif Unitaire National de Soutien à Mumia Abu-Jamal, Coalition nationale pour l’abolition de la peine de mort au Maroc, Community of Sant’Egidio, Death Penalty Focus, Culture pour la Paix et la Justice, Ensemble contre la peine de mort, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Fédération Syndicale Unitaire, International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, Lawyers For Human Rights International, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers, Paris Bar, Penal Reform International, Puerto Rico Bar Association, Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Tuscany Region.

Other members : ACAT France, Advocates for Human Rights, American Friends Service Committee, Association for the Rights to Live, City of Andoain, Association Marocaine des Droits Humains, Bahrain Human Rights Society, Belarusian Helsinki Committee, City of Braine l’Alleud, Centre for Prisoner’s Rights, Centre marocain des droits humains, Coalition nationale tunisienne contre la peine de mort, Collectif des Organisations des Jeunes Solidaires du Congo-Kinshasa, Comité des Observateurs des Droits de l’Homme, Comitato Paul Rougeau, Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation, Conférence Internationale des Barreaux, Congolese Youth Movement, Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie, CURE, Death Watch International, City of Dijon, Federation of Liberal Students, Forum Africain contre la Peine de Mort, Forum 90 Japan, Forum marocain pour la Vérité et la Justice, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Hands Off Cain, Hope & Justice, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, HURILAWS, International Organization for Diplomatic Relations, Iranian Human Rights Activists Groups in EU and North America, Iraqi Alliance for the Prevention of the death penalty, Iraqi Center for Human Rights and Democracy Studies, Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Journey of Hope, KontraS, Law Student’s Forum, Legal and Human Rights Centre, Lifespark, Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, Ligue ivoirienne des Droits de l’Homme, Lutte Pour la Justice, City of Matera, MEDEL, Mêmes droits pour tous, Mothers Against Death Penalty, Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, National Lawyers Guild, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Observatoire marocain des prisons, Observatoire National des Prisons, Ordine Provinciale dei Medici-Chirurgi e degli odontoiatri di Firenze, Ordre des avocats du Barreau de Liège, Ordre des avocats de Genève, Ordre des avocats des Hauts de Seine, Ordre des Barreaux francophones et germanophones de Belgique, Organisation marocaine des droits humains, Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Pax Christi Uvira asbl, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, Puerto Rican Coalition against the Death Penalty, RADHOMA, City of Reggio Emilia, Rights and Democracy, ROTAB, Stop Child Executions,SYNAFEN, Union Chrétienne pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, Unis pour l’abolition de la peine de mort, US Human Rights Network, City of Venice, Victorian Criminal Justice Coalition, Women’s Information Consultative Center, World Organisation against Torture.

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