15th European and World Day against the Death Penalty

Today is the 15th European and World Day against the Death Penalty. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders seizes this occasion to underline the engagement of Belgium in favor of the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. 

The death penalty is a grave violation of human dignity. The Minister laments the fact that some countries continue to use the death penalty, even for specific forms of conduct such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and same-sex sexual relations.

The theme of this 15th international day against the death penalty is poverty and the death penalty. This theme fits entirely within the framework of the resolution which was recently adopted by the Human Rights Council at the initiative of Belgium. This resolution focusses on the right to equality and non-discrimination. According to UN experts on human rights, the death penalty is in reality a penalty that is applied to persons belonging to disadvantaged socio-economic groups. The disproportionate impact of the death penalty on people living in poverty shows that the death penalty violates not only the right to life but also a number of other international norms such as the right to a fair trial and the right to non-discrimination.

The ultimate objective of Belgium and of the European Union is the complete abolition of the death penalty. It is a long-term process, waged on several fronts. It is in this context that our country will organize, together with the European Union, the Seventh World Congress against capital Punishment in Brussels in February 2019.