On the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) reiterate their strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and for all cases. The death penalty is an affront to human dignity. It constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and is contrary to the right to life. The death penalty has no established deterrent effect and it makes judicial errors irreversible.
All EU and Council of Europe member states have abolished the death penalty. Abolition in law or practice is a pre-condition of Council of Europe membership and the absolute ban on the death penalty in all circumstances is entrenched in both Protocols No 6 and No 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. We call on those European states that have not yet done so to ratify them.
Pending the introduction of a moratorium, the Council of Europe and the EU urge the countries still applying the death penalty to commute any remaining death sentences to prison terms and, in any case, to ensure that conditions of detention respect human dignity.