Wien, 10. October 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Austria advocates the proscription of the death penalty worldwide"

10.10.2007

Foreign Minister on the 5th World Day Against the Death Penalty

Vienna, 10 October 2007 - "The commitment to a worldwide abolition of the death penalty is a constant feature of Austrian foreign policy", stressed Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today on the occasion of the 5th World Day Against the Death Penalty. "The death penalty is in irreconcilable contradiction with our conception of man and the world", Plassnik continued.

Therefore, Austria and the EU are spearheading efforts against the death penalty. "We pursue our objective with determination, that is, the worldwide abolition of this cruel and inhuman form of punishment. Moreover, we repeatedly intervene with success in countless individual cases against the imposition or the execution of death sentences. Our efforts are particularly intense in the case of death sentences against women and young people, and especially cruel forms of the death penalty, such as stoning", said the Foreign Minister.

Plassnik welcomed the fact that, after a decision reached by the Council of Europe, this year will see the celebration of a European Day Against the Death Penalty for the first time in addition to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. "Developments in recent months have shown that we must not ease our commitment", stressed Plassnik. For instance, the death penalty was abolished in Ruanda and Gabon in recent months. In several other countries, there is an intense debate over the abolition or at least restriction of the death penalty. "Each of these measures is an encouraging step toward a more humane and just world".

To support this trend, the EU Foreign Ministers decided to present a resolution for a worldwide stop of executions at the current United Nations General Assembly. "This initiative is calling upon UN Member States to take a clear stance on this important issue. It presents an opportunity to come a step closer to our objective of banning the death penalty worldwide", Plassnik explained.

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