Belarus is the last country in Europe and former Soviet Union that is still carrying out the death penalty. Amnesty International, Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other human rights defenders in Belarus oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life, guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nothing can justify the purposeful and ruthless taking of a human life by State.
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After World War II the international community rethought the value of each human life and declared the right to life of every human being regardless of the social status. In 1971, a UN resolution was the first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty. To date, the total number of countries that have abolished the death penalty in law or do not use it in practice is 140 out of 192.
Belarus is the last country in Europe and the post-Soviet space that continues using the death penalty towards its citizens every year. Despite the commitments as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to "provide the public with information regarding the use of the death penalty", all information on passed and enforced sentences remains classified.
On April 18, Minsk hosted a round table entitled “Legal aspects of the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus”. The event was organized by the Council of Europe and involved members of the Belarusian Parliament’s lower chamber and representatives of NGOs, including the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.
“In Europe and Central Asia, Belarus was the only country to execute people. The country carried out at least two executions in 2017; at least four new death sentences were imposed,” Amnesty International said in its Annual Report on the death penalty.
Amnesty International strongly condemns the execution of Belarusian death row prisoner, Kiryl Kazachok, in October 2017. News of his execution has only recently been disclosed by the family and brings the total number of known executions in Belarus in 2017 to two.