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EU must maintain pressure for abolition of death penalty


07 Oct 2010


Social Europe & Jobs

"No EU Member State provides for the death penalty in its statutes and so we can assume the leadership as a global player to address this inhumane form of punishment. Whether in our relations with the United States or Iran, we call for the abolition or moratorium on the death penalty in all its forms." said ALDE MEP Marietje Schaake (D66, NL) intervening during today's debate in the European Parliament ahead of Sunday 10th October's anniversary marking the World day against the death penalty.

"The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe has always strongly defended fundamental freedoms in Europe, and human rights in the rest of the world." highlighted Ms Schaake, concluding "As a community of values, the EU has repeatedly and strongly committed itself to abolishing the death penalty. It also means the EU has a responsibility in providing shelter for people who risk the death penalty when exercising their human rights such as freedom of expression or peaceful opposition. In Iran even children face the death penalty. We need to spare no means to prevent this from happening."

"Death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and its use is cruel, inhuman and degrading. Hence it is unworthy of democratic countries, such as Japan, Taiwan or the USA." said the European Parliament Vice-President for Democracy and Human Rights, ALDE MEP Edward McMillan-Scott (Lib Dem, UK). "Of those countries still killing human beings, the worst offender is China which executes an estimated 5000 people each year - more than the rest of the world put together. This does not include groups such as Falun Gong practitioners, of whom more than 3,000 have died under torture since the persecution by the regime began in 1999 nor those who are killed for their vital organs."

McMillan-Scott, who founded the €140 million European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) which has since 1992 funded over 30 projects aiming at abolishing the death penalty, concluded: "Several hundred people have been saved from the death penalty worldwide as a result of funding from this EU programme. Several countries have abolished the death penalty or established moratoria in recent years as a result of EU pressure."

For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84
Federica Terzi: +32-2-283 23 24 or +32-494 18 88 31


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