World Day: everybody stands up against the death penalty!

World Day

on 27 September 2007

Here are just a few of the activities planned: in Peru, local human rights organisations react to a bill introduced in Parliament in 2006 to re-introduce the death penalty with a satirical exhibition presenting various methods of execution: electrocution, hanging, decapitation, stoning and shooting; in Texas, a university is organising a meeting to discuss the death penalty, bringing students, lecturers and lawyers to the campus; in Togo, the African Forum Against the Death Penalty is showing a film, followed by a general discussion on the death penalty; in Germany, a local organisation is re-enacting the UN General Assembly in a park, displaying 192 Chairs representing the 192 member states with information on each state’s position regarding the death penalty; in Paris, human rights organisations come together to condemn the large number of executions carried out in Iran and present a life-size reproduction of the method of execution used in Iran; in India, public figures have signed an open letter, to be circulated in various periodicals; In the DRC, action is carried out throughout the week with an awareness-raising campaign, the collection of signatures in favour of the moratorium, radio and television programmes, a letter to the Government, etc.

To launch the World Day, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty has organised five press conferences across the world. An initial press conference took place inRabat, Morocco, on 2 October 2007, bringing together activists working at international, regional and national levels. Together with representatives from the World Coalition and the Moroccan Coalition Against the Death Penalty, speakers included Ms Antoinette Chahine, who was sentenced to death in Lebanon in 1997 and pardonned in 1999, and Mr Ali Al-Dailami, a representative from Yemen of the Arab Coalition Against the Death Penalty established recently in Amman, Jordan. Mr Al-Dailami has been repeatedly harassed and threatened since his involvement in action against the death penalty and his testimony recalled the difficulties facing Arab abolitionists but also the hopes raised by the alliance of players at regional level.

A second press conference took place in Porto Rico on 4 October. Although it abolished the death penalty in 1929, the country, which is administratively associated with the United States, is under growing pressure from the US to re-introduce the death penalty. The press conference was an opportunity to support and strengthen Porto-Rican position and call for the creation of a Caribbean Coalition Against the Death Penalty. It included speakers from the Porto-Rican Coalition and the President of the US based National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers (NACDL).

On 5 October a press conference was held in Kinshasa, DRC. Under the auspices of the Minister of Justice, this press conference brought together abolitionists from the region and gave the floor to Mr Zarrouati, President of the French ACAT (Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture).

On the occasion of an international conference entitled “Europeagainst the death penalty” organised in Lisbon on 9 October by the European Union and the Council of Europe, the World Coalition organised an additional press conference with EU officials and delegates from Amnesty International and the Community of Sant’Egidio.

On 10 October, the World Day Against the Death Penlaty, the World Coalition meets in New York at the United Nations headquarters. The New York press conference will give the floor to famous figures, among them actor and anti-death penalty activist Mike Farrell, actor and director Tim Robbins who is deeply involved in action against the death penalty, and Sister Helen Prejean, author of the best-seller “Dead man walking” and adapted for film by Tim Robbins.

In each of these press conferences, an appeal is launched to the governments of the world to support the moratorium on executions.

On the occasion of a final event taking place at the end of October, the World Coalition will present a petition calling for a worldwide moratorium to the UN Secretary General and the Presidency of the UN General Assembly. This petition already has the support of five million people worldwide.

>> All information regarding the 2007 World Day <<
> Programme of local events across the world.
> The press room containing the press files of each press conference.

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