Didier Reynders welcomes the adoption by the Human Rights Council of a Belgian resolution on the capital punishment

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is pleased that, today, the Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a new Belgian resolution on capital punishment.

This joint initiative, with Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova and Switzerland, was supported by some 60 countries from all five continents.

The Belgian resolution focuses on the irreversibility of the abolition of the death penalty and the impossibility for countries still applying the death penalty to impose it for crimes that are not among the "most serious crimes", such as drug-related offenses. The text also emphasizes that capital punishment can never be imposed as a criminal sanction for specific forms of conduct such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and same-sex sexual relations.

The year 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims for the abolition of the death penalty. The resolution calls on states that have not yet done so to ratify this protocol.

This initiative shows Belgium's permanent commitment to protecting and promoting human rights. This is exactly why our country is a candidate for a seat on the Human Rights Council for the period 2023-2025.