Today is the World Day against the Death Penalty

2015 2015-10-10T18:06:36+0300 2015-10-10T18:06:36+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

October 10, 2015 the World Day against the Death Penalty, established by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, association of trade unions, local and regional authorities, legal associations and human rights organizations with a view to universal ban on this kind of penalty, is marked for the 13th time.

Each year the World Coalition against the Death Penalty holds the day under a certain slogan, which focuses on one aspect against the death penalty for various crimes. The current slogan of the action is "Death Penalty Doesn't Stop Drug Crimes".

Contrary to the main argument of those countries that retain the death penalty for offenses related to drug trafficking, the issuance of death verdicts and executions for this type of crime is not a deterrent to drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Supporters of the abolitionist movement oppose to the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender and the way in which the government takes the life of the convicted person. The death penalty is regarded by them as an extreme form of deprivation of rights through the deliberate deprivation of life by the state. This is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty violates the right to life, proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The only European country to continue the use of the death penalty is Belarus. According to the information of human rights activists, more than 400 people have been executed in the country
in the last twenty years.

The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty in Belarus is a precondition for membership in the Council of Europe. This international structure has been working on the prohibition of the death penalty in Europe for about 30 years. Over the past ten years, not a single death sentence has been executed in any of the 47 countries who are parties the Council of Europe.

In Belarus, the topic of the death penalty is dealt by the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus”. The initiators of the campaign demand that the Belarusian authorities introduce a moratorium on the use of this inhuman form of punishment, noting a number of significant problems associated with the presence of the death penalty in the country. Among them there are the lack of proper public control over the police bodies, security services and places of detention of citizens and, as a consequence, the existence of the facts of the use of torture against detainees and suspects, the inability to appeal the verdicts of the Supreme Court of Belarus with the suspension of the execution of the sentence, the small time gap between the issuance to the execution of the sentence (from 4 months to 1 year, or even less), the executions of the persons who registered applications are pending at the UN Human Rights Committee and who therefore fall under its urgent protection procedures, and finally, the dependence of the judiciary and the bar on the executive authorities. All thee factors drastically increase the possibility of miscarriage of justice and the use of the capital punishment towards the persons whose guilt hasn't been established during the proceedings by an impartial and independent court.

In addition, the state demonstrates a cynical attitude to the relatives of the executed, not notifying them about the date and time of the punishment, not issuing them with the bodies and not reporting about the place of the burial.

The Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus" urge everyone to join the World Day against the Death Penalty by signing the petition for the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus.