Today is the European and World Day against the Death Penalty. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders underlines that Belgium continues to engage for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The Minister regrets that a number of countries continue to use the death penalty, even for specific forms of conduct such as blasphemy, adultery and same-sex sexual relations. The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.
Belgium attaches great importance to the abolition of the death penalty for quite some time already. The ultimate goal for Belgium and the EU is a full universal abolition of the death penalty, whatever the crimes. It is a positive sign that in 2017 170 countries didn’t execute capital punishment anymore and that the number of executions worldwide dropped as well. However, it remains a long battle to be fought on different fronts.
In 2017, Belgium joined the Global Alliance to end trade in goods for torture and capital punishment, which was launches by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia MalmstrAlm. Our country also continues to promote the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. This protocol provides for the abolition of the death penalty, but has been ratified by only 86 countries so far.
Our country also continues to work with different organizations who fight against the death penalty, such as the NGO Together Against the Death Penalty. It is in this context that Belgium, together with the EU, will welcome the Seventh World Congress against the Death Penalty in Brussels from February 27th until March 1st 2019.
Source: Embassy of Belgium in Pakistan