Minister Reynders on the 10th European and World Day Against the Death Penalty
On the occasion of the 10th European and World Day Against the Death Penalty, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has observed that significant progress has been made since 2002: 21 countries have abolished the death penalty for all criminal offences, while the number of countries that actually practise the death penalty has been reduced by more than a third. But the fact that some countries have recommenced executions demonstrates that the fight to completely abolish the death penalty is not yet won.
Consequently Belgium, together with the EU, remains committed on several fronts to the fight against the death penalty. The death penalty is an unacceptable infringement of human dignity, and a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment.
Belgium, together with the EU, is working towards the complete abolition of the death penalty. Our country also calls for a reduction in the number of executions actually carried out in the countries where the death penalty is still practised, and insists, if it is to be applied, that it is done in respect of the current international minimum standards and with full transparency.
Minister Reynders also stressed that Belgium - as a member of the Group of Friends of the Second Optional Protocol - will continue to work towards the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that provides for the abolition of the death penalty. Finally Belgium is looking forward with interest to the triennial meeting of opponents of the death penalty, to be held in Madrid in 2013, at the fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty.