The impressive achievements of the fight against the death penalty


International trend towards abolition of the death penalty: how we are winning and why it matters for other movements

As we celebrate the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October, let’s reflect on how the trend towards abolition keeps growing year after year.

In 18 years of existence, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty has contributed to:

  • 31 new abolitions of the death penalty in law
  • 28 ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
  • 121 United Nations Member States supporting a General Assembly Resolution for a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty in December 2018
  • Thousands of events for World Day against the Death Penalty in over 100 countries since 2003
  • It is now strong of 160 member organisations

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty’s founding mission, as stated in its Bylaws, is to bring together private, public, international, national, local and regional organisations that share the common objective of universal abolition of the death penalty.

One of the World Coalition’s strength lies in the diversity of its membership. First mostly joined by international NGOs (Non-governmental organisations), European bar associations, trade unions and cities, it unites now more national civil society organisations from countries that retain the death penalty, lawyers’ organisations from all over the world, research centres, organisations of exonerees, organisations of murder victims families opposed to the death penalty and organisations of families of people on death row.

In addition to its membership, the World Coalition has also developed strong partnerships with international and regional human rights mechanisms, as well as with abolitionist countries and businesses opposed to the death penalty.

Member organisations and partners are at the core of the World Coalition’s strategic orientations:

  • to support member organisations, local, national and regional abolitionist forces; and
  • to coordinate international advocacy towards worlwide abolition of the death penalty.
The World Coalition provides a space for meeting, for building capacities and for sharing information and strategies. It ensures that the trends towards abolition continues to grow by having a stronger expertise, common message and common targets.
Aurelie Placais

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