“We need to show that society is concerned about the death penalty”
From 5 to 10 October, various locations across Belarus will host the seventh annual Week Against the Death Penalty, the main slogan of which will be “Justice Without Killing.” Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus” and organizer of the Week, has shared his plans for this year’s events, calling on everyone to join the activities of the annual outreach initiative.
The Week will be opened during a traditional festival “Rock for Life”. Two concerts have been scheduled: one in Minsk on October 5 and the other in Mahilioŭ on the 6th. The lineup will feature popular rock bands who support the abolition of the death penalty: Krama, Nizkiz, Petlya Pristrastiya, RSP, Re1ikt, Luty Sakavik.
As in previous years, human rights activists will take to the streets to give out thousands of free copies of a special issue of the newspaper Narodnaya Volya.
In addition, in Minsk and in other cities of the country, awareness-raising activities will be held to deal with the subject. The provisional agenda is below:
- Joint activities with the Documentary Film Festival Watch Docs;
- Conducting live action role-playing games (LARPs) on the death penalty together with the Living Library initiative;
- Events involving embassies;
- Educational events in the “Territory of Rights” event space;
- Events organized together with the Belarusian PEN Center;
- Youth debates on the subject of the death penalty.
Andrew Paluda notes that it is crucial to show that the country’s civil society really cares about the uneasy problem of the death penalty.
“We welcome any organizations and initiatives from all over the country who are ready to join the Week and arrange awareness-raising or any other activities. Also, anyone can do several simple things: share a petition for the abolition of the death penalty, publish posts on social networks with the hashtags #DeathPenalty, #AbolitionNow and #We4Life2019. We would be very grateful for these efforts because they are an important contribution to the common cause,” Andrei Paluda said.
The first Week against the Death Penalty was held in 2013 in the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus,” which was launched in 2009 with the aim of ending this inhumane form of punishment and help the country join the European values. Unfortunately, Belarus is to date the only country in Europe and in the former Soviet Union area, which still executes people.