The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) presented this year’s background paper on the death penalty in the OSCE region yesterday at the annual OSCE human rights conference in Warsaw.
This year’s paper reports on developments in the OSCE area, including Latvia’s ratification of Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which resulted in the abolition of the use of the death penalty in all cases.
It also notes that three OSCE participating states – Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan – retain the death penalty in law but have moratoria on executions; and that Belarus and the United States remain the only countries in the OSCE area that still carry out executions.
PRI took the opportunity of the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) to deliver a statement on the death penalty, calling in particular for:
- Belarus and the United States to take immediate steps to end the use of the death penalty;
- the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan to abolish the death penalty in law for all crimes; and
- the Republic of Kazakhstan to abolish provisions in their national legislation that still allow for the imposition of the death penalty for certain crimes under exceptional circumstances.
The statement also notes that the death penalty is in some states replaced by alternative sanctions which amount to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, such as life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, solitary confinement for long and indeterminate periods of time, and inadequate basic physical or medical provisions. It therefore calls on the OSCE to engage in debate and dialogue as to how best to protect the rights of those sentenced to life imprisonment.
Read our statement