Death Penalty

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World Day against the Death Penalty – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (10 October 2020)

On the occasion of the 18th World Day against the Death Penalty, France reaffirms its strong opposition to the death penalty everywhere and in all circumstances. It calls on all states that apply the death penalty to establish a moratorium with a view toward its definitive abolition and encourages all states to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

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The death penalty is not a useful instrument for combating crime. The loss of life in which it results is irreparable and miscarriages of justice can occur in all legal systems. The death penalty is not simply a criminal justice policy instrument, but a violation of human rights. It is prohibited by many international texts.

The abolition of the death penalty is a highly symbolic cause, which highlights the universality of human rights.

Global support for abolition is increasing on all continents, regardless of political regimes, development levels or cultural heritage.

We can observe a downward trend in the number of death sentences and executions worldwide. Today, over two thirds of the world’s countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Over the past 20 years, more than 50 states have abolished it in law.

Through its resolute commitment to universal abolition, France has become recognized as one of the main states involved in combating the death penalty.