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Moratorium on death penalty

Greens/EFA motion for a resolution

Tabled by Hélène Flautre, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Milan Horá?ek, Angelika Beer, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and Monica Frassoni on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on a universal moratorium on the death penalty, in particular that of 23 October 2003(1),

– having regard to the guidelines on EU policy towards third countries on the death penalty adopted on 6 June 1998,

– having regard to the resolutions on the universal abolition of death penalty adopted by various UN bodies, including the UN Commission on Human Rights,

– having regard to the EU statements in support of a universal moratorium on capital punishment and its abolition in due course,

– having regard to the EU statement on the verdict handed down in the trial of Saddam Hussein on 5 November 2006,

– having regard to the EU Presidency statement on the abolition of death penalty delivered to the United Nations General Assembly at its 61st session on 19 December 2006,

– having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the European Union, at its General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on 22 January 2007, decided to take further initiatives for a moratorium on the death penalty in international fora, including the United Nations, and to consistently promote abolition of the death penalty under guidelines adopted in 1998,

B. recalling that on July 27, 2006 the Italian Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved a motion which committed the Italian government to present, at the next UN General Assembly, after consulting the EU partners, but without being subject to the unanimous approval of all EU Member States, a motion for a resolution for the universal moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to completely abolishing death penalty throughout the world,

C. whereas the abolition of the death penalty is part of the acquis of the European Union and is one of the Copenhagen criteria in the framework of EU accession,

D. whereas the European Union strongly encourages countries to consider acceding to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and comparable regional instruments which provides for states to commit themselves to permanent abolition of the death penalty,

E. Deeply concerned by the threat of executions that hangs over thousands of people in the world, by the execution of minors in a few countries, notably Iran, and by the ongoing discussion in some abolitionist countries on reintroducing the death penalty into legislation,

F. recalling, in this regard, that, according to Amnesty International's 2005 report, over 2000 people were executed and that the majority of all known executions occurred in China (with at least 1 770 executions), in Iran (with at least 94 executions), followed by Saudi Arabia (with at least 86) and the USA (with 60),

G. Deeply concerned by the reintroduction of the death penalty in Iraq and by the execution of Saddam Hussein and other important figures of the former Iraqi dictatorship and its exploitation in the media by some elements of the security forces,

H. whereas, at the same time, the trend towards the worldwide abolition of the death penalty continues; welcoming, in this regard, the complete abolition of the death penalty in Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines and Moldova during the past years and the rejection by the Peruvian Congress of the draft law on the introduction into legislation of the death penalty for crimes of terrorism,

1. Reiterates its long-standing position against the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances and expresses once more its conviction that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights;

2. Reiterates its request to the Council Presidency to take swift action to ensure that a resolution calling for a universal moratorium on capital punishment with a view to a complete abolition of the death penalty is submitted to the UN General Assembly;

3. Urges the EU institutions and the Member States to make every endeavour in the political and diplomatic spheres to ensure the most appropriate support for this resolution within the UN General Assembly;

4. Calls on the Council and the Commission to inform the European Parliament of the results achieved in the UN General Assembly at the first possible plenary sitting after the conclusion of the deliberations;

5. Strongly encourages EU Member States that have not done so – France, Latvia and Poland – to ratify without delay the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant to the ICCPR aiming at the complete abolition of the death penalty;

6. Invites, at the same time, Russia – with which the European Union is negotiating a Partnership agreement – to speedily ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant to the ICCPR and Protocol No 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for the abolition of the death penalty in peacetime; encourages all ENP southern countries to ratify and comply with international treaties and conventions relating to the abolition of the death penalty;

7. Encourages the Council and the Member States to fully implement the guidelines on the death penalty and to take all political and diplomatic initiatives with third countries aiming at completely abolishing the death penalty;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary-General, the Chair of the UN General Assembly and all the UN Member States.

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