European and World Day against the Death Penalty: Joint statement by the High Representative, on behalf of the European Union, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

October 10, 2022
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On the occasion of the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe firmly reiterate their unequivocal opposition to the death penalty at all times, in all places and in all circumstances.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. We commend all those Council of Europe Member States (including all of the EU Member States) that have abolished the death penalty in all circumstances and we call on the last two Member States of the Council of Europe that have not yet acceded to this Protocol – Armenia and Azerbaijan – to do so without delay.

The steady worldwide decline in the number of states still applying the death penalty confirms the global trend towards abandoning this cruel, inhuman and ineffective punishment. A minority of 18 states, 9% of the total number of UN Member States, still carried out executions in 2021. We call on those states to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.

The EU and the Council of Europe strongly condemn the death sentences recently issued in the occupied Ukrainian city of Donetsk. We stress that these sentences were incompatible with both European human rights law and international law, including the Geneva Conventions and welcome with relief the release of the sentenced individuals. Equally, we deplore the politically-motivated amendment of the Criminal Code of Belarus – extending capital punishment to “attempted terrorist acts”, with the eventual aim of targeting political dissents – and we urge the authorities to reverse this decision. We also call on Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries that have recently increased the number of executions to join the worldwide trend and abandon the use of this inhuman punishment.

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Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia
Human Rights