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Rough justice Swiss behind joint appeal to end death penalty

The United States executed 43 people in 2011

The United States executed 43 people in 2011

(Keystone)

At Switzerland's initiative, a joint call for the abolition of the death penalty was published on Wednesday in Swiss and European newspapers to mark the occasion of the 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and his counterparts in Switzerland's five neighbouring countries – France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Liechtenstein – reaffirmed their commitment to join forces for the worldwide abolition of capital punishment.

“There are struggles that cannot be won single-handedly. One of these is the fight against capital punishment,” the appeal says, calling the campaign to end the death penalty “a movement for the preservation of human dignity”.

“A lone warrior could not have succeeded in convincing so many countries to eliminate the death penalty. But through the combined efforts of many countries, international organisations, and civil society, working together to put an end to executions, we have succeeded,” it adds.

“As representatives of countries that uphold the same shared values, we join together in a united appeal for the abolition of the death penalty – a practice for which there can no longer be any justification in the 21st century.”

The statement says that more than 130 countries have abolished the death penalty or placed a moratorium on it, and that only about 50 countries still use it.

“These numbers are encouraging, and show that the initiatives and efforts undertaken until now have borne fruit. But we have not yet attained our goal, so that we must now redouble our commitment,” the appeal continues.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by a vote of 109 to 41 a third resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty. Later this year this resolution will be put before the General Assembly once again for a vote.

“Our countries are making every effort to secure an even greater majority in its favour,” says the appeal.

“It is our intention to continue to work together in our opposition to the death penalty. This is a duty we share, born of our common values and the pursuit of an ideal that allows all human beings to live in dignity. We call on all countries to join us in this declaration,” it concludes.

The appeal was signed by the following foreign ministers: Didier Burkhalter (Switzerland), Guido Westerwelle (Germany), Aurelia Frick (Liechtenstein), Michael Spindelegger (Austria), Giulio Terzi (Italy) und Laurent Fabius (France).

Execution methods

Death by decapitation (Saudi Arabia)

  

Death by electric chair (United States)

  

Death by hanging (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore and others)

  

Death by lethal injection (China and US)

Death by shooting (China, Belarus, Vietnam and others)

Death by stoning (Afghanistan, Iran)

end of infobox

swissinfo.ch


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