“It is all the more urgent to come together”: World Congress Against the Death Penalty starts
On 15 November, the 8th World Congress against the Death Penalty started its work in Berlin. Over a thousand people from 90 countries take part in this event.
As announced, the 8th World Congress brings together politicians and representatives of human rights organizations. Key witnesses to the death penalty—lawyers, and former death row inmates Debra Milke (USA) and Yaovi Azonhito (Benin) are also participating in the Congress.
This year, the Congress will address the instrumentalization of the death penalty for political purposes. In addition, the death penalty issue will be considered in the context of sexual violence, gender discrimination, and punishing LGBTIQ+ people in some countries. Particular focus will be placed on the inclusion of young people in the fight against the death penalty since one of the goals of the Congress is to form a new generation of abolitionists.
“When the youth of Iran rise up, when war rages in Europe, when injustices continue in Afghanistan, Belarus, and elsewhere, when China seals up the system to the point of total non-transparency, it is all the more urgent to come together. This is exactly what we will do at this 8th World Congress against the Death Penalty, which is firmly focused on young people and a new generation ready to commit to defending our rights.” — said Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Together Against the Death Penalty Executive Director.
At the Congress's opening ceremony, speakers mentioned Belarus in the context of Russia's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. Belarus is also not a member of the Council of Europe, as the existence of the death penalty in the country is a direct obstacle to membership.
The Congress will run until November 18. You can find its program and connect to a live broadcast on the Congress website.
The World Congress Against the Death Penalty takes place every three years and is organized by ECPM Together Against the Death Penalty. It is a civil society federation that has been campaigning for the universal abolition of the death penalty since 2000. An interactive world map produced by ECPM shows the current attitudes to the death penalty in each country. Belarus remains the only country in Europe with the death penalty.