In his opening speech of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) autumn session in Strasbourg today, President Pedro Agramunt denounced that “in too many parts of the world, including on our continent, the death penalty remains in force. While the death penalty has been abolished in many countries, there are unfortunately more and more people campaigning for reintroducing it.”
“This reflects, at least in part, the overall crisis of values of human rights and democracy, as well as the failure of our institutions to protect people and ensure that their fundamental rights are respected,” he said.
“As members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, we are proud of our achievements to create a death-penalty-free zone in Europe bringing together 47 states. But we must remember too that the abolition of death penalty is a continuous fight to uphold the values we share, within and outside our borders,” the PACE President stressed.
Urging MPs to resist and publicly oppose any attempt to undermine the human rights acquis by extreme and populist movements, he recalled that the US and Japan, both of whom are observer states still apply the death penalty. “We should continue efforts to convince them to abandon this practice which is incompatible with the modern human rights acquis. We should continue working with our Partner for Democracy Delegation from Jordan, to ensure that the moratorium on executions is applied consistently, in line with the commitment taken vis-à-vis the Assembly,” he concluded.