World Day Against the Death Penalty is organised by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty to raise government and public awareness about the continuing use of the death penalty around the world.
Since the World Day was first held a decade ago, significant progress has been made towards ending the death penalty, with 141 countries now abolitionist either in law or in practice. However, significant challenges remain, with some countries expanding, or attempting to expand, the number of offences carrying the death sentence, and others recently resuming executions after a significant hiatus.
“Even though world is moving ever closer to universal abolition, executions continue to take place and the death penalty is retained in almost all regions of the world. World Day Against the Death Penalty is an opportunity for those states which still retain the death penalty to commit to establishing a moratorium on executions and to taking legal steps towards full abolition in law,” says Andrea Huber, Policy Director of PRI.
“It is also an opportunity to raise our concerns about the increasing trend towards replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment, often with no hope of parole. Life without parole removes any hope of release, prevents meaningful rehabilitation and undermines the inherent right to human dignity.”
To mark World Day Against the Death Penalty 2012, PRI’s Middle East and North Africa Office in Amman will be holding a joint event with the Embassy of Sweden on the ‘Future of the Death Penalty abolition In Jordan’ on Sunday 7October 2012. Speakers will include the Swedish Ambassador, Charlotta Sparre, Researcher and Islamic scholar, Dr Hamdy Murad, and Regional Director of PRI, Taghreed Jaber.
At the event, PRI will publicise its recent research report, produced as part of PRI’s death penalty project funded by the European Union, into the use of the death penalty and alternative sanctions, such as life imprisonment in seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa region – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen – and will also show a short animated film about the death penalty in the region.
Elsewhere in Astana, Kazakhstan, PRI’s Central Asia office is marking the day with a panel discussion at Kazakhstan’s Humanitarian and Juridicial University. Before the discussion, there will be a screening of the 2011 film Forgotten, which explores conditions for prisoners serving life sentences in Central Asia and was also produced as part of PRI’s EU funded project on the death penalty.