Les droits de l'Homme et la défense de la Défense

UN Crime Congress: Abolition of the Death Penalty Must Be an Integral Part of Crime Prevention Programmes & Criminal Justice Reforms

As the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is about to begin in Kyoto, Japan, the undersigned organizations urge the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and its subsidiary bodies, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and all UN member states, including the Congress host country Japan, to make abolition of the death penalty an integral component of programmes to prevent crime and improve criminal justice systems globally.

Between 7 and 12 March, policy-makers, practitioners, academics, intergovernmental organizations, activists and civil society organizations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice will gather in Kyoto, Japan, as well as remotely, to participate in the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The Congress will focus on “Advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda” and will provide a platform for exchanges on research and law and policy developments concerning emerging trends and issues in crime prevention and criminal justice.

It is in this context that the undersigned organizations regret the exclusion of the abolition of the death penalty from the plan of work of the Congress, as well as from the UNODC strategy for 2021-2025. UN and regional inter-governmental bodies, as well as many countries from all regions, have long-recognized the human rights violations inherently associated with the use of the death penalty; and international human rights law and standards have clearly set its abolition as goal.  The retention of this cruel punishment is inconsistent with goals set out under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4, due to the impact of the death penalty on both the mental and physical health of those facing it; SDGs 5.1 and 10.3, as the death penalty is discriminatory and disproportionately impacts those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic, racial, religious or sexual minorities; and SDG 16, on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. As a result, the death penalty must be eradicated as the 2030 agenda is implemented.

We call on all stakeholders to put the promotion and protection of human rights at the centre of discussions and programmatic commitments on crime prevention and criminal justice reforms, including by integrating abolition of the death penalty in ongoing efforts.