Advocating the Abolition of the Death Penalty World-wide

Monday, 10 September 2001

Release date: 3rd September, 2001

Advocating the Abolition of the Death Penalty World-wide

Abolition of the death penalty is very much at the centre of the international human rights agenda, with major diplomatic initiatives being undertaken by the Council of Europe and the European Union. In June 2001, Ireland s constitution was amended to prohibit capital punishment following a successful referendum. Internationally, however, the principal concern remains the extensive use of the death penalty in the United States and China. In fact, there are still 86 countries which continue to use the death penalty. During 2000, at least 1,457 prisoners were executed and 3,058 people were sentenced to death.

Leading international specialists on capital punishment will meet in the Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway, September 21-22, for a symposium on abolition of the death penalty, under the auspices of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Centre de Recherche sur les Droits de l'Homme, Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II.

The conclusions of the conference are to be delivered by Senator Robert Badinter, one of France s leading statesmen, who was Minister of Justice in 1981 when France abolished capital punishment.

The conference will also be addressed by Professor William A. Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who is recognised as one of the leading international authorities on capital punishment, particularly in its international legal dimensions. His two books on the subject have been cited by the United States Supreme Court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of the Philippines and numerous appellate courts.

Other speakers at the conference include academics, international officials and activists involved in work on the subject, in Europe and North America.

This conference forms a centre-piece of the strategy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in advocating the abolition of the death penalty world-wide.

Ends

Further details from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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