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World Day Against Death Penalty Marked Today   
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As the World marks the Day Against Death Penalty, attention is being drawn to people with mental health problems who are at risk of a death sentence or execution.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century and should be abolished, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon delivered this message on the occasion of World Day Against the Death Penalty, marked every 10 October.

He said the death penalty fails to deter crimes more than other punishments.

Its abolition, he says, contributes to human rights.

The taking of life is too irreversible for one person to inflict on another. We must continue arguing strongly that the death penalty is unjust and incompatible with fundamental human rights.

Mr Ban is urging leaders where the death penalty is still used to commute or pardon death sentences, and to impose moratoriums on executions.

He added that the UN will continue working to end this cruel punishment.

More than two thirds of the world's countries have reportedly abolished the death penalty in law or practice.


Participants to the first World Congress Against the Death Penalty, initiated and organised by the French NGO Together Against the Death Penalty, adopted the Strasbourg Declaration on 22 June 2001 in the hemicycle of the Council of Europe.

In paragraph 9, the signatories pledged to “create a world-wide co-ordination of abolitionist associations and campaigners, whose first goal will be to launch a world-wide day for the universal abolition of the death penalty”.

After several preparatory meetings in Paris and Brussels, most of the initiative’s protagonists met in Rome on 13 May 2002 to create officially the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. An 11-member Steering Committee was selected and subsequently renewed at each AGM.

In 2003, the World Coalition created the first World Day Against the Death Penalty. This initiative was expressed through more than 180 local initiatives across the world. Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Belgium, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the European Union officially supported the World Day.

Since then, October 10 has continued to attract new initiatives. Since 2005, when more than 260 events took place, the World Day Against the Death Penalty has highlighted a particular theme each year.

In 2007, the Council of Europe and the European Union officially recognised the World Day as European Day Against the Death Penalty.
Source: GBC

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