World and European Day against the Death Penalty
10 October 2019
Joint Declaration by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
The European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe firmly oppose the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to the right to life. The death penalty means revenge, not justice, and its abolition contributes to the enhancement of human dignity.
142 countries, representing 74% of the UN member states, have already stopped using the death penalty, either by removing it from their penal code or not carrying out executions for a long time. The abolitionist trend is continuing, with the number of death sentences and executions also falling. In 2018, executions were carried out in 20 countries, representing a historic low of 10% of the countries of the world.
The Council of Europe member states which have not yet acceded to Protocols No 6 and No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights are called upon to do so without delay. The Council of Europe and the EU once again urge Belarus to abolish the death penalty and join the community of nations that have chosen to replace vengeance with human dignity. They also invite those observers to the Council of Europe who have not yet abolished death penalty to engage in dialogue on the obstacles blocking their path towards abolition.