UNGA 67th Session
Laurent Fabius is making the universal abolition of the death penalty a priority of his action. He has taken the initiative of holding a high-level meeting on the subject in New York today, which he will co-chair with his Beninese counterpart, Nassirou Arifari Bako.
Major figures committed to human rights and the abolition of the death penalty will be taking part – among others, Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, and Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Director-General of "Together against the Death Penalty".
The theme of this ministerial meeting will be “The death penalty: from moratorium to abolition.” We will be sharing our experiences with the Republic of Benin – the latest state to have ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty – with a view to revitalizing the global abolitionist movement. The meeting, held in association with the United Nations and civil society, aims to encourage as many states as possible to take the decisive step from de facto moratoriums to abolition in law, in order to put a definitive end to this cruel and inhuman practice.
The meeting comes a few days before the official launch on October 9 of the French campaign for universal abolition. The aim of this campaign is to renew and step up the action taken in recent years to raise awareness of the abolition of the death penalty. It involves encouraging debate and lending our support to local players committed to abolition.
The campaign for universal abolition comes in the context of several engagements expected in the coming months: the regional congress against the death penalty, in Rabat in October 2012, the new vote on the United Nations General Assembly’s biennial resolution calling for the introduction of a global moratorium in the fall of 2012, and the fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty, in Madrid in June 2013.
The fight against the death penalty is a long-term struggle in which tangible progress is made every year in all the world’s regions. In the past 20 years, more than 50 states have outlawed the death penalty. France reaffirms its determined and constant opposition to the death penalty, everywhere and under all circumstances. It commends the role of the International Commission against the Death Penalty, made up of figures of high moral standing, including the former Keeper of the Seals, Robert Badinter. Finally, France urges all states which still apply the death penalty to observe moratoriums with a view to definitive abolition.