Concluding talking points on behalf of Parliamentarians and PGA, attending the 7th World Congress against the Death Penalty
Honourable Colleagues, dear participants, It is our honour to address you on behalf of my colleagues here, as parliamentarians, human rights defenders and citizens of our respective countries. We belong to Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), a network of more than 1,300 individual parliamentarians from 130 parliaments around the globe. In our capacities as legislators, we promote human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, non-discrimination, and peace and security. We work together and support each other in our efforts to improve the lives of our people. As parliamentarians, not only can we play an important role in the abolitionist fight but we believe that it is also our responsibility to create a world where the human rights of everyone are respected. Together we stand here, and we make the commitment to pursue abolition in our respective countries and regions, with steps – big and small:
• Where executions are still being carried out, we call for a moratorium to ensure that no life be taken until a proper assessment of the criminal justice system’s use of the death penalty can be made;
• Where the death penalty is being handed down by our judiciary, we commit to taking immediate steps to strengthen the judicial safeguards on capital cases and to improving the conditions of detention for death row inmates;
• We commit to taking every legislative measure towards abolishing the death penalty entirely, by removing mandatory capital punishment, reducing the number of capital crimes, and creating opportunities for rehabilitation instead of retribution;
• We commit to encourage our governments to support all regional and international initiatives that reiterate the value of life and promote abolition, including the United Nations General Assembly Resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
• We commit to using our voices as representatives of our people to raise awareness about the death penalty in our constituencies and with our fellow citizens, and in doing so, to fight misconceptions and unfounded arguments;
• And overall, we commit to using all our parliamentary prerogatives and our privileged position to promote the human rights and abolition of the death penalty in our countries and throughout the world.
Today, we take this opportunity to call upon our fellow parliamentarians to join in this struggle. We invite our colleagues who are not already abolitionist to promote dialogue and to listen to survivors of the death penalty and their families, to victims of crimes, to judges, and to experts. We invite you to be open to re-examining your convictions and your beliefs to support the right of every human being to life and to dignity.
Every year, the use of death penalty decreases and it should reduce further. We invite all our fellow parliamentarians to stand up. As parliamentarians, we commit to using our influence to make sure this trend toward abolition continues and to fight against the resurgence of capital punishment. Thank you all for your attention.