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 past seven days have been dominated by events held as part of the annual nation-wide Week against the Death Penalty in Belarus. 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.
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have published a joint statement to mark the European and World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October.