The world is making progress in the fight against the death penalty, as demonstrated by the recent International Congress of Justice Ministers held in Rome, which highlighted the important role of the Community of Sant’Egidio in this movement. With the participation of representatives from over 20 abolitionist countries, the congress reaffirmed the need for courageous leadership to guide the path towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
The Community of Sant’Egidio has worked tirelessly for the reduction or abolition of executions, de jure or de facto, in countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Zambia, Guinea-Conakry, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and Uganda, and continues to be a key player in the fight for the end of the death penalty.
During the congress, speakers highlighted the incompatibility between the death penalty and democracy, emphasizing the need for proportionate punishment and the fundamental human rights of the accused. The fight against the death penalty has become an important element in international relations, with an increasing number of African countries recognizing the importance of collaboration to advance this cause. The international community has an important role to play in supporting the efforts of countries fighting against the death penalty and promoting constructive dialogue on issues related to human rights and criminal justice.
More countries are abandoning the death penalty, with 144 states no longer practicing it, compared to only 16 in 1975. Since 2000, 45 states have abolished the death penalty (two per year). In 2021, executions were carried out in only 16 countries, and in the last five years, the recorded number of executions has decreased threefold, from over 1500 to less than 500, with an increase in 2022, with 637 executions recorded until September 30th.
This is an unprecedented historical turning point, and there has never been a better time to join this important cause and make a difference in the fight against the death penalty.
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