Bouayach's message to Congress against Berlin's death penalty

Launched by “Together Against the Death Penalty” (ECPM) in 2001, the World Congresses Against the Death Penalty mark the high point of the global abolitionist campaign, and are organized every three years in a different strategic city. The 8e edition held in Berlin, from November 15 to 18, 2022, is organized by ECPM in partnership with the “World Coalition Against the Death Penalty” (CMCPM) and is sponsored by Germany, Switzerland, France and the European Parliament (EU).

The President of the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH), Amina Bouayach, a member of this academic committee, took part in a preparatory meeting for this 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty. The academic committee for the preparation of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty is made up of world personalities active in the fight for the abolition of the death penalty. This participation takes into account a balance of representation in terms of professional profiles, gender and geographical representation. Its purpose is to define the main priorities and strategic orientations of the Congress program

Amina Bouayach had in her speech, insisted on the importance of favoring the steps associating the younger generations in the fight for the abolition of the death penalty. It had also proposed to involve in this effort the various players in the judicial process, including judges. Indeed, this would be an excellent lever for action, the idea being to work towards the gradual reduction of the scope of application of the death penalty in the Penal Code.

Fifty-three countries still have the death penalty in their legal arsenal. From this Tuesday and until Friday, at least 90 countries will be represented in Berlin for the work of this Eighth World Congress Against the Death Penalty. It was the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, who opened this unmissable meeting of world abolitionists, an event that brings together more than a thousand participants.

For her part, the president of the CNDH, Amina Bouayach sent a message to this eighth World Congress against the death penalty which is being held in Berlin and of which here is the content.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress,

dear abolitionist friends,

How to move from the political voice to that of civil society? Or put another way: how to build a continuous action so that civil society, convinced of the need to protect the right to life, can better invest the field of public debate and make its voice heard with a view to the abolition of the dead.

Civil society’s fight on the issue is first of all an approach aimed at making the refusal of legal murder ubiquitous by highlighting the various gray areas that legitimize revenge through the law.

Achieve the guarantee of the right to life, this absolute and original right without which no other right can be exercised, such is our primary objective.

To do this, we all need tools, techniques and strategies to confront, on all fronts, political, legal, cultural, in a holistic and multidimensional way, the erroneous discourse of those who oppose the abolition and in order to be able to guide the political actor out of the terrain of hesitation and fear towards that of audacity, reason and humanism.

It is in this spirit that we approached the preparation of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty within the academic committee, in which I had the honor of taking part alongside my colleagues, abolitionists from different continents.

It is a question, dear friends, of defining the strategic priorities that should serve as a dashboard for our mobilization, sharing the processes for abolition, coordinating advocacy actions and supporting the work of abolitionist actors by putting highlight the issues in their region, by offering them practical content.

I would like to congratulate ECPM on the choice of committee members, lawyers, activists, researchers, whose confirmed expertise and militant and sustained involvement in the abolitionist fight has allowed us to draw inspiration from a rich knowledge of the field.

The academic program, diversified and bringing together the various players, aims to be part of an approach with a strategic and practical scope, offering delegates the opportunity, for the next three years, to improve their advocacy and renew their argument for abolishing the death penalty.

Our debates within the academic committee, dear friends, have been rich and constructive, based on a participatory methodology, so that each and every one of the delegates can take ownership of the academic program. Thank you to ECPM, the World Coalition, human rights organizations and the personalities, journalists, lawyers, professors, etc. who gave the committee the benefit of their expertise on the death penalty.

I hope that the committee has succeeded in translating your expectations and concerns into accessible themes for a broader involvement in abolition. A program of 15 themes, validated by 8 independent experts from the Academic Committee, will allow all the actors to discuss the orientations to be given to our abolitionist fight at the international, regional and national levels.

Our conviction is renewed every day and our determination resists the vagaries of the political scene. The 8thth Congress is even more determined to act to consolidate our fight against the death penalty, fortified every day by the pronouncement of judgments of execution and death.

The 8th Congress, dear friends, is once again a moment of exceptional significance, against the death penalty, we are proud to confirm ourselves, as a universal movement for the protection of the 1er right, the right to life.

The message couldn’t be clearer. That said, in 2021 the countries and territories having completely abolished the death penalty numbered 108. 80% of UN member states no longer execute and 60% of them are abolitionists. The African continent is moving towards abolition: 45 of the 55 African countries are abolitionist in law or de facto. Some regions of the world still oppose resistance to abolitionist thought and continue to apply the death penalty on a large scale”.

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