French President vows to relaunch fight to end death penalty

French President vows to relaunch fight to end death penalty
© Belga

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday his aim to “relaunch the fight” for the universal abolition of the death penalty by organising a meeting “at the highest level” to convince the leaders of countries where it is still in force of the urgent need to abolish it.

“I announce to you, today, the 9th of October 2021, that France will relaunch the fight for universal abolition” of capital punishment, the French head of State said in an address marking the 40th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in France, Belga News Agency reports.

He indicated that, during the French presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2022, France, together with the non-governmental Ensemble contre la peine de mort organization, would “organise a meeting at the highest level bringing together civil society from States that still apply the death penalty or a moratorium in order to convince their leaders of the importance and urgency of abolishing it.”

Earlier, Robert Badinter, who had spearheaded the abolition of capital punishment in France as Justice Minister in 1981, asserted his “absolute conviction” that the death penalty is bound to disappear from the world since it is “a shame” on humanity. “It does not defend society, it dishonours it,” he said in a firm voice under the cupola of the Pantheon, the monument in Paris to great personalities that have marked French history.

President Macron recalled that in 1981, France had been the “35th nation to abolish the death penalty”. That number has increased significantly since then: “Thus far, 106 nations have taken this path while 50 others have imposed a legal or de facto moratorium on executions,” he added.

However, he stressed the fact that 483 executions – “a number that is certainly understated” - were carried out worldwide in 2020. These were “483 State murders administered by 33 political regimes which, for the most part, have a shared taste for despotism, the rejection of the universality of human rights,” he added.

The death penalty is still applied in countries such as the United States, China and India.

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