World and European Day Against the Death Penalty
Paris, October 10, 2011
Today, 10 October, we are celebrating the ninth World and European Day against the Death Penalty, officially recognized by the Council of Europe and the European Union in 2007.
The death penalty is not justice, but more a sign of the failure of justice. It serves no useful purpose in fighting crime. The loss of life that it induces is irreparable, since no legal system is safe from the risk a miscarriage of justice.
It is now 30 years since France outlawed this cruel, inhuman practice. Since then, she has not ceased working towards the definitive, universal abolition of the death penalty.
Much ground has been covered in the meantime. Today, 139 countries are abolitionists in law or have adopted a de facto moratorium. The majority of UN member states have turned away from this form of punishment and further progress continues to be made.
To me, this is evidence of genuine awareness worldwide and a reaffirmation of the universal nature of human rights.
But I haven’t forgotten, despite the progress achieved, that the struggle for universal abolition must be continued on every continent.
I want to pay tribute to the determined efforts of human rights defenders and NGOs, whose involvement is essential in the battle we are fighting together.