Under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Justice for Jordan, Khalifa Khalid Al-Sulaiman, PRI and the World Coalition against the Death Penalty opened the tenth General Assembly of the World Coalition.
The General Assembly focused on the efforts and realities in the fight against the death penalty at the international level and in the Arab region, particularly in light of the Arab Spring. Activists from civil society representing more than 132 organisations across the world participated in celebrating the tenth year since the establishment of the World Coalition. The first day of the General Assembly was restricted to World Coalition members, to discuss administrative and strategic issues. However, the second day was open to the public, and participants from local civil society organisations and members of the Jordanian media attended, including Judge Dr Mustafa Al-Assaf, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice of Jordan, who opened the public session and reported on Jordan’s progress towards abolition.
The programme of the General Assembly celebrated the progress made towards abolition in the past ten years and identified challenges for the next ten years of the Coalition. Cases studies from Tunisia, Taiwan, the Caribbean, and the death penalty for drug offences were evaluated. Participants took part in specialised workshops on religion and the death penalty, working with surviving family members of murder victims, and how strategic litigation can feed into abolitionist campaigns. Strategies were discussed and developed on:
- The adoption of the UN General Assembly (GA) moratorium resolution which will be tabled at the GA in December 2012
- Steps towards developing and adopting an Optional Protocol to the African Charter on Human Rights on abolition of the death penalty.
- The SAFE California Campaign and abolition in Connecticut.
The World Coalition against the Death Penalty, an alliance of more than 130 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities and trade unions, was created in Rome on 13 May 2002. It was founded as a result of the commitment made by the signatories of the Final Declaration of the 1st World Congress against the Death Penalty in Strasbourg in June 2001.
The aim of the World Coalition is to strengthen the international dimension of the fight against the death penalty. Its ultimate objective is the universal abolition of the death penalty. The World Coalition advocates for a definitive end to death sentences and executions in those countries where the death penalty is still in force. In some countries, it is seeking to obtain a reduction in the use of capital punishment as a first step towards abolition. The World Coalition gives a global dimension to the sometimes isolated action taken by its members on the ground. It complements their initiatives, while constantly respecting their independence.
PRI is a founding member of the World Coalition and is a member of its Steering Committee. PRI hosted the General Assembly as part of its programme of work that calls for abolition of the death penalty and the adoption of alternative sanctions that respect human rights. PRI’s work on the death penalty has been funded by the UK government and the European Union. PRI’s regional office is based in Amman, Jordan, and is implementing a number of projects which call for reforms to the penal and criminal justices systems in ten countries across the Middle East and North Africa region.