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.
The fifth annual Week against the Death Penalty concluded on October 12, World Day against the Death Penalty, with an artistic event at the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk, which told about the pain suffered by the families of death convicts.
On October 10, the issue of ongoing executions in Belarus was discussed at a meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly pf the Council of Europe. The event was scheduled to mark the World Day against the Death Penalty. The discussion involved Valery Varanetski, chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and deputy chairperson of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich.
While on death row, convicts face a number of violations of their rights. During their one monthly visit with a family member (a right accorded under Article 174 of the Criminal Law Enforcement Code), they are forbidden from referring to detention conditions.