Frequently asked questions
How to become a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty?
The subscription to the World Coalition is limited to legal entities only (associations, bar associations, cities, NGOs, trade unions…). The World Coalition is open to every organization committed against capital punishment. Each candidate must be approved by the Steering Committee after review of its application file. If you want to become a new member of the World Coalition, please fill in the application form by clicking here.
Once you became a member, you can join any Working Group you are interested in to promote the immediate, definitive and universal end of the death penalty worldwide over different aspects covered by the World Coalition’s work (World Day, international advocacy, United Nations moratorium, countries where capital punishment is at risk of resurgence…).
All members which are up to date with their fees are entitled to vote in the General Assembly of the World Coalition.
Someone on death row needs help. Could you do anything?
We do feel deeply concerned every time someone is sentenced to death somewhere in the world. Unfortunately, the World Coalition does not work directly on individual cases but some of its members do. We strongly encourage you to contact a member based in your country or region by clicking here
Why abolish the death penalty?
1- No State should have the power to take a person’s life.
2- It is irrevocable. No justice system is safe from judicial error and innocent people are likely to be sentenced to death or executed.
3- It unfair. The death penalty is discriminatory and is often used disproportionately against people who are poor, people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, and members of racial and ethnic minority groups. In some places, the imposition of the death penalty is used to target groups based on sexual orientation, gender identity, political opinion, or religion.
4- It is inhuman, cruel, and degrading. Conditions on death row and the anguish of facing execution inflict extreme psychological suffering, and execution is a physical and mental assault.
5- It denies any possibility of rehabilitation.
It does not offer justice to murder victim’s families: the effects of murder cannot be erased by more killing, and the death system prolongs the suffering of victims’ families.
6- It is applied overwhelmingly in violation of international standards: it breaches the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to life and that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. On eight occasions, the United Nations General Assembly has called for the establishment of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty (Resolutions 62/149 in 2007, 63/168 in 2008, 65/206 in 2010, 67/176 in 2012, 69/186 in 2014, 71/187 in 2016, 73/175 in 2018, 75/183 in 2020).
7- It creates more pain, particularly for the relatives of the person sentenced to death, including children, who will be subjected to the violence of programmed and forced mourning.
8- It counterproductive, because by instituting the killing of a human being as a criminal solution, the death penalty endorses the idea of murder more than it fights it.
9- It is inefficient and does not keep society safe. It has never been conclusively shown that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than life imprisonment.
10- Not all murder victims’ families want the death penalty. A large and growing number of crime victims’ families worldwide reject the death penalty and are speaking out against it, saying it does not bring back or honor their murdered family member, does not heal the pain of the murder, and violates their ethical and religious beliefs.
Do you have information for my research?
The World Coalition offers an online library of more than 2,000 free-to-access documents, including reports from NGOs or international human rights mechanisms, advocacy tools and articles written by the Secretariat. These documents focus on a wide range of themes related to the death penalty issue (fair trial, death row conditions, discriminations etc.) and provide many facts and figures on national profiles or on international and regional trends. Feel free to use them and to suggest new documents to add to this list.
Can you finance a project against the death penalty?
The World Coalition does not have the capacity to finance every project related to the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, but some of its members can help you. We strongly encourage you to contact a member in your country or region to be provided help regarding your project.
How do I join the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty?
All our jobs and traineeships ads, as well as our calls for actions projects, are available here.
Can I volunteer with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty?
We thank you a lot for your interest in getting involved within the abolitionist community. However, please note the World Coalition only works with legal entities and as such does not hire volunteers.
I am a member of the media. Whom should I contact with my inquiry?
For media and press inquiries, please contact: email@example.com
Death Penalty Glossary
The World Coalition works on a very specific topic within the realm of human rights. Not everybody is familiar with the different terms, concepts and instruments that are relevant to the conduct of anti-death penalty work. Here are some important words to get you started if you’re new to the abolitionist community:
21st World Day Against the Death Penalty – The death penalty: An irreversible torture
Helping the World Achieve a Moratorium on Executions
In 2007, the World Coalition made one of the most important decisions in its young history: to support the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards universal abolition. A moratorium is temporary suspension of executions and, more rarely, of death sentences. […]