Together against the death Penalty

On the occasion of the 19th European and World Day against the Death Penalty, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès reaffirms Belgium’s commitment to the universal abolition of the death penalty.

The fight against the death penalty has long been one of our country's main thematic priorities. The ultimate goal of Belgium and the EU is a worldwide and total abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.

This year’s World Day focuses on women. Although women represent only a small percentage of those sentenced to death, gender discrimination continues to affect women at all levels of the criminal justice system. Sophie Wilmès: "In some countries, women are sentenced to death more often than men for crimes involving sexual morality, such as adultery. Moreover, mitigating circumstances related to gender-based violence and abuse are rarely taken into account during the criminal process. The death penalty thus violates not only the right to life, but also other human rights such as the right to equality and non-discrimination. Above all, it remains a cruel punishment and an unacceptable violation of human dignity".

Transparency is also an important element in the application of the death penalty. The Human Rights Council today adopted a new resolution from Belgium on the issue of transparency. The resolution calls on countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure transparency in the imposition and execution of this punishment, including in their methods of execution, and calls on countries that still carry out secret executions to stop this practice.

This initiative, taken together with Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova and Switzerland, was supported by some sixty countries from five continents.

It demonstrates Belgium's dynamism in protecting and promoting human rights. This motivates our country to apply for a seat on the Human Rights Council for the period 2023-2025.