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World Congress against the Death Penalty opens in Oslo

2016 2016-06-21T13:35:48+0300 2016-06-21T13:36:10+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty is taking place in Norway’s Oslo from 21 to 23 June.

The Congress is organized every three years by Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (Together Against the Death Penalty – ECPM) in partnership with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP). Belarus is traditionally represented by the campaign Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus. The opening ceremony will take place on 21 June.

Today’s program opens with a plenary session entitled “Progress and set-backs in Asia: lessons to be learnt. How can recent positive developments in Asia be used to overcome common challenges in retentionist nations?”

Among other topics to be discussed at a number of roundtables and workshops are “The death penalty and the problem of terrorism” and “Migrants and minorities: Strategies to overcome challenges in capital cases”.

The global event will culminate in a traditional March against the death penalty starting at the City Hall of Oslo and will pass through the central streets of the city.

The full program of the Congress can be found at the following link.

According to Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus”, in the framework of the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, FIDH and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee organise a side event on the death penalty in Belarus.

Belarus is the only European country which still practices the death penalty. According to the Government of Belarus, the country is slowly moving towards abolishing the death penalty, but the process is “lengthy and complicated”.

Meanwhile, people get condemned and executed, within a non-transperent and inhuman procedure. How can the international community, and most notably the European Union, help the abolition process in Belarus?

The speakers are: Liubou Kavaliova, mother of Uladzislau Kavaliou, a young man expeditively executed in Belarus under charges of terrorism; Valiantsin Stefanovich, Human Rights Center “Viasna”; Andrei Paluda, head of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty in Belarus”; Elisabeth Edland, Policy officer of the Human Rights Strategy and Policy Implementation Division of the EU European External Action Service (EEAS). The event will be moderated by Florence Bellivier, FIDH Deputy Secretary General. Closing remarks will be provided by NHC’s Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.

There will also be a presentation of the book The Death Penalty in Belarus, the English version of an Belarusian-language book. It describes the history of the death penalty in Belarus and highlights how it is applied without informing the families of those to be executed, and shares the poignant perspectives of mothers of executed persons, such as Liubou Kavaliova, who is attending the Congress to share the story of her fight for justice.

The English version of the book is now available for download in various formats: epub, fb2 and mobi.

Earlier, the Belarusian human rights activists took part in the World Congress against the Death Penalty in Geneva in 2010 and Madrid in 2013.

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