Picks of the Week against the Death Penalty
The past seven days have been dominated by events held as part of the annual nation-wide Week against the Death Penalty in Belarus. Dozens of activities across the country culminated on October 10, World and European Day against the Death Penalty, to reiterate calls for the abolition of capital punishment in Belarus, the last executioner in Europe.
Viasna has collected quotes and photo evidence of the Week to highlight the diversity of voices and efforts demanding an end to executions, both in the country and worldwide.
UK ambassador Jacqueline Perkins called on the government of Belarus to take a political decision to abolish the death penalty.
“Sometimes it takes a political decision to change public opinion, and so it happened in the UK. Now, over 50 years later, support for the death penalty among the UK population has dropped below 50%. I believe that in the furnace of time public opinion on the death penalty in Belarus will follow the same path, if it hasn’t already,” said the ambassador in a video address to mark the World Day.
“We will always assume that the death penalty can make our society more violent. It is inhumane and inhuman punishment, for which there is no place in modern legal practice,” Swedish ambassador Christina Johannesson said.
“Switzerland expresses its deep concern that Belarus continues to carry out executions, the latest of which took place only a few months ago, in June. Switzerland’s firm position in this regard is clear: There is no more place for capital punishment in the 21st century. We strongly reiterate the appeal to establish a moratorium on executions and are inviting the authorities of Belarus to take this as a starting point for a campaign of effective advocacy for the complete abolition of the death penalty,” Swiss ambassador Claude Altermatt said at the screening of the movie Free Men on October 10.