France commits to the universal abolition of the death penalty
Since 2003, October 10th has been observed as World Day Against the Death Penalty. France’s commitment in favour of the universal abolition of the death penalty has been determined and constant. This combat constitutes one of its priorities with regards to Human Rights at the international level. It also represents a priority in the European Union’s joint action.
The European Union and France consider the death penalty as cruel and inhuman and its abolition contributes to protecting the right to life. No legal system is immune from judicial error, which may lead to the irreparable loss of human life. Finally, the death penalty makes no useful contribution to combatting crime. It has no preventive value; instead, it constitutes a symbol of the justice system’s failure.
In 1998, the EU adopted [Guidelines-http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/10015.fr08.pdf] regarding the death penalty aimed at coordinating the EU’s action on this issue and making it one of the of the EU’s human rights priorities. The EU regularly conducts global advocacy campaigns to convince States of the need to abolish the death penalty, which goes against human dignity.
In accordance with these guidelines, France and its European partners regularly encourage states to ratify international instruments such as the United Nations’ Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. More generally, France has undertaken, alone or as part of the European Union, to encourage these states to abolish or, failing that, to observe a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty. Steps are also being taken for individuals sentenced to death.
France and the EU support Human Rights defenders campaigning for abolishing the death penalty.
In close cooperation with its European partners, France works for the universal abolition of the death penalty, in all relevant international fora, including the UN.
France has also argued forcefully that the death penalty should be outlawed from penalties provided by international criminal courts.
The European Union and France have actively contributed to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopting resolutions calling for establishing a universal moratorium on applying the death penalty.
For more on France’s campaign against the death penalty, visit the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development