The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided on 26 September 2007, to declare a ''European Day against the Death Penalty,'' which is held annually on 10 October. The Council of Europe has been a pioneer in the abolition process which has made Europe a de facto death-penalty-free zone since 1997. The day is a European contribution to the World Day against the Death Penalty, which is held annually on the same day.

Council of Europe Strasbourg 9 October 2017
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Europe against the death penalty

The 47-nation Council of Europe and the 28-member European Union have published a joint statement to mark the European and World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October.

The statement underlines the two organisations’ firm opposition to capital punishment in any circumstances.

It also calls on countries still using the death penalty to commute any existing sentences and to introduce a moratorium on capital punishment as a first step towards abolition.

Through the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe has created a death penalty-free zone covering 47 countries and over 820 million people.

No executions have taken place in any Council of Europe member state for over 20 years.