Wien, 10. October 2008 Press release

Plassnik: "Capital punishment is incompatible with our idea of humankind and our view of the world"

Foreign Minister on World Day against the Death Penalty

Vienna, 10 October 2008 - "The death penalty is simply not compatible with our idea of humankind and our view of the world. In November 2007, the United Nations, with an overwhelming majority, for the first time called upon its member states to abolish this inhumane form of punishment. That was a breakthrough for international human rights policy," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik to mark today´s European and International Day against the Death Penalty.

"Intensive diplomatic preparatory work by the EU and like-minded states have made this success within the UN possible. Building on it, we shall consistently continue our commitment to the worldwide proscription of the death penalty," continued the Foreign Minister.

According to Plassnik, the persistent commitment to the fight against the death penalty was showing progress. The latest report by the UN Secretary-General on the status of the implementation of the Resolution on the Death Penalty, for instance, referred to a worldwide trend towards the abolition of this inhumane type of punishment. In 2008, capital punishment was abolished in Uzbekistan and Argentina. "Each of these progressive steps is a milestone on the path to a more humane and just world. However, there are also setbacks, such as the completely unacceptable execution of young people in Iran. They strengthen our determination not to slacken in our efforts for the worldwide abolition of this inhumane and irrevocable punishment," affirmed Plassnik. Last year, too, Iran was among those states which were frequently called upon by Austria and the EU to refrain from exercising the death penalty, especially on young people.

"Within the framework of the EU we shall continue our efforts to convince others and our interventions vis-à-vis countries in individual cases where necessary. This is a deeply humanitarian concern and a constant in Austria’s foreign policy," concluded Plassnik.

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