Sophie Wilmès underlines Belgium’s commitment against the death penalty

On the occasion of the 18th European and World Day against the Death Penalty, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès wishes to underline Belgium's commitment to the universal abolition of the death penalty.

The fight against the death penalty has long been one of the main thematic priorities of our country. The ultimate objective of Belgium and the European Union is the complete abolition of the death penalty for all crimes. The death penalty is an unacceptable violation of human dignity and constitutes a cruel, inhuman and humiliating punishment. “The death penalty has no place in the 21st century”, said Minister Wilmès, expressing disappointment that some countries continue to apply the death penalty for blasphemy, infidelity or same-sex sexual relations.

However, Belgium's commitment to the abolition of the death penalty is not limited to this one day a year. It is a long-term work on several fronts. Belgium will continue to work for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for the abolition of the death penalty. Only 88 countries have ratified this Protocol, whereas in fact more than 170 countries have already abolished the death penalty or established a moratorium.

Furthermore, our country will continue to work to keep the issue of capital punishment on the agenda of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Finally, Belgium looks forward to the adoption of a new resolution by the UN General Assembly this year calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. This initiative can certainly count on Belgium's active support.