Vienna, 10 October 2013 – "The death penalty is a brutal attack on human dignity. It serves neither the prevention of crime nor security. Austria will therefore continue to push for the abolition of this cruel punishment", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the World Day against the Death Penalty today.
"Together with our partners in the EU we have achieved much over the past few years. Thanks to the efforts undertaken by the European Union, including the EU-driven UN resolution against the death penalty, the number of American, Asian and African countries that abolish capital punishment or introduce at least a moratorium is increasing", Spindelegger continued. He also welcomed Poland's imminent ratification of the 13th supplementary protocol of the European Convention on Human Right. "This means that all EU states will have ratified this important protocol and clearly committed themselves to abolishing capital punishment under all circumstances", the Vice-Chancellor said.
"What is particularly dramatic is that even young people are sentenced to death. It was an important sign that the UN Human Rights Council in its 24th session in September again condemned the imposition of the death penalty and life-long prison sentences for adolescents and young adults upon the initiative of Austria", Spindelegger said.
"The Council of Europe is an important driver pushing the abolition of the death penalty ahead on the regional and international level. When Austria takes over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe, we are going to offer continued support to these efforts", Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger concluded. 50 of the 193 UN member states still use capital punishment; twenty years ago, there were twice as many.
Numerous European newspapers today published a joint appeal against the death penalty by Foreign Ministers Ditmir Bushati (Albania), Gilbert Saboya Sunyé (Andorra), Didier Reynders (Belgium), Zlatko Lagumdžija (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kristian Wigenin (Bulgaria), Villy Søvndal (Denmark), Guido Westerwelle (Germany), Nikola Poposki (FYR Macedonia), Urmas Paet (Estonia), Erkki Tuomioja (Finland), Laurent Fabius (France), Evangelos Venizelos (Greece), Eamon Gilmore (Ireland), Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (Iceland), Emma Bonino (Italia), Vesna Pusić (Croatia), Edgars Rinkēvičs (Latvia), Aurelia Frick (Liechtenstein), Linas Antanas Linkevičius (Lithuania), Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg), George Vella (Malta), Natalia Gherman (Moldova), José Badia (Monaco), Igor Lukšić (Montenegro), Frans Timmermans (The Netherlands), Espen Barth Eide (Norway), Michael Spindelegger (Austria), Rui Machete (Portugal), Titus Corlățean (Romania), Pasquale Valentini (San Marino), Carl Bildt (Sweden), Didier Burkhalter (Switzerland), Ivan Mrkić (Serbia), Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia), Karl Erjavec (Slovenia), José Manuel García-Margallo (Spain), Jan Kohout (Czech Republic), Ahmet Davutoğlu (Turkey), Leonid Koschara (Ukraine), János Martonyi (Hungary), William Hague (United Kingdom). Also available under this link: Standard article
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