CITIES FOR LIFE – CITIES AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
by Mario Marazziti
Mrs. Mayor, supporters, fellow fighters for Peace, Justice and Human rights. Raphaèl, Antonio, all you who have been working hard for this congress.
In this special Hall, we just make a solemn decision: we have to go on. Abolition. Now! And in any case soon! It is not a matter of if, but only of when. But also we need to say: how?
I am speaking here as president of Social Affairs Commission of the Italian Parliament, but also on behalf of the Community of Sant’Egidio and the movement of Cities for life. You may know the Community of Sant’Egidio as being active in in peace-making, and I want to recall in this place that this peace-making has been involving countries like Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Casamance, recently the Republic of Central Africa, and we are trying also to unlock Europe for migrants and to create the humanitarian corridors.
We need to fight the culture of death that Boko Haram (Daesh) is trying to distribute, diffusing in the world, and this is what brings us also to the fight against the Death Penalty. So, I think that you may know the work of the conferences of the ministers of Justice, and in this environment some abolitions were create over the last decade, or some tools in favour of the UNGA resolution were created.
We need tools. We have powerful additional tools. Cities for Life. Cities against the Death Penalty is a movement – is a world movement – a world day on November 30th that is the anniversary of the first abolition by a State in the West, when the Grand Duchy of Tuscany abolished the death penalty – not many know that – in 1786. We started this movement in 2002.
We ask mayors and urban administrators to provide a visible sign of their adherence to the campaign against the death penalty: lighting up a significant monument in their city or educational initiatives or public events or concerts with the youth.
About 80 cities in that first year, 2002. Now, in 2015, 2031 cities joined the movement in 88 countries.
The event is centred on the simultaneous enlightenment of thousands of symbol monuments all over the world: the Coliseum in Rome, the Atomium in Brussels, Saint Eulalia Cathedral in Barcelona… maybe the opera theatre in Oslo.
In particular, the Coliseum in Rome, illuminated by special lighting – and I’m going to conclude – has become the universal symbol for a world without the death penalty. This is a gift to the world. It also provides International visibility to all those who achieve important results along the pathway of abolition or a lasting moratorium.
The American States of Nebraska, New Jersey and New Mexico – just to give you some examples – celebrated in front of the Coliseum their abolition, or Chile and Argentina.
It is a way to create contradictions also in retentionist states. To create hope.
It is a simple way to answer, and to offer the young generation an answer.
To those who call for more executions of terrorists, crazy killers, we can show the beauty of a Justice always capable to respect life.
We can undermine a culture of death.
We do it to respect OUR human dignity and help our societies not to become like killers.
Just google: November 30th. Cities for Life. Cities Against the Death Penalty.
Join the movement. “No justice without life”. We can do it!