Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Death penalty - MEPs set to back International moratorium

Death penalty - MEPs set to back International moratorium

Death row - an ominous wait

Death by beheading, electrocution, hanging and a firing squad: all deeply repulsive and legal ways to die in many countries around the world. Amnesty International reports that in 2005 over 2,100 people were executed in 22 countries. This week MEPs are set to add their support for a UN sponsored international moratorium on executions. A debate and resolution on Wednesday and Thursday are likely to demand an immediate and unconditional halt to executions.

2007 Congress against the death penalty

Later in the week a cross-party delegation of MEPs will attend the "World Congress Against the Death Penalty" in Paris. This is the 3rd such meeting - the first being held in the Parliament in Strasbourg in 2001.

The aim is to discuss ways of persuading countries to end executions and put pressure on them to halt executions. The organisers have organised a petition to the Chinese government asking them to show an "Olympic spirit" and halt executions prior to the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing.

Ahead of the visit one member of Parliament's delegation - Roberta Anastase of the European People's Party said the Parliament is "acting today to promote human rights, to impose a ban on the death penalty...to envisage the value of every human being".

International pressure

The foundation stone of the anti-death penalty case is the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights guaranteeing the "right to life, liberty and security of person..." On the 50th anniversary of this declaration in 1998 the EU reaffirmed its commitment to these principles. None of the current 27 states of the Union currently has the death penalty.

Just last week MEPs unanimously voted to support a resolution that called for the overturning of death sentences against 5 Bulgarian nurses and 1 Palestinian doctor in Libya. They were convicted in 2004 for allegedly infecting 400 children with the AIDS virus in a Benghazi hospital. The medics have always said they are being made scapegoats for failures in the Libyan health system.

A world divided over death

The international community is roughly divided into four groups towards the death penalty.

The first group are the 88 states that have abolished the penalty. The second are the 11 countries that retain it for "special" crimes such as those committed under military law for example.

The third group - 29 countries - such as Morocco and Algeria - that retain the penalty but have not executed anyone for 10 years.

Finally, the last group of 69 states and territories that maintain and carry out the death penalty. This includes the US, China, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

REF.: 20070130STO02572

Further information :The EU and death penalty
3rd World Congress Against Death Penalty Paris
The question of the death penalty: UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/65
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Amnesty International website on death penalty


Anonymous said...

What's a MEP?

sisselnor said...


The UK is divided into twelve regions. Each region has between three and ten MEPs and each MEP in a region represents each person living there. For example, if you live in Cambridge, all seven Eastern MEPs represent you and you can contact any or all of them.

To find out who are your MEPs, click on the region you live in. If you are not sure, please telephone us on 020 7227 4300. See also the Guide to Counties and Unitary Authorities below.

Please note that the London region comprises the 74 Westminster parliamentary constituencies in the Greater London area, stretching out as far as Harrow, Kingston upon Thames, Sutton and Cheam, Croydon, Bromley, Hornchurch and Enfield.

Please note that residents of Gibraltar vote in the South West region (since June 2004).

Click here for the alphabetical list of all UK MEPs plus their photos, a brief biography and their declaration of financial interests.


Anonymous said...


MEP means Member of the European Parliament.