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November 29 2014

30 November 2014, World Day of Cities for Life: the “NO” to the death penalty rises strongly worldwide

There is an increase in the number of accessions to the campaign promoted by Sant'Egidio. Demonstrations and events against the death penalty take place in all continents

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Also this year, for the World Day of the "Cities for Life - Cities against the Death Penalty" of 30 November, thousands of people around the world are mobilising to ask, with one voice, a final renunciation of the death penalty. There are almost 2000 Cities for Life that officially joined the World Day, and many accessions continue to arrive. Adding to these are the many places in the world where, in the absence of formal accession by institutions, especially in countries where the death penalty still exists, communities, associations and ordinary citizens organised public events, torchlight processions and prayer vigils to express their clear rejection of capital punishment, as in Minsk, Belarus, where a prayer vigil will be held in the church of Saints Simon and Elena.

In addition to the many events throughout Italy, we report the membership of major European capital and non-capital cities. This year in particular, there was a large mobilisation in Portugal: lighting of the main monuments, conferences and demonstrations will be hold in many cities of the country. Next to Portugal and Italy, also in Spain and Germany the institutions, the Community of Sant'Egidio and the different realities of civil society promoted events to raise awareness against the death penalty.

The mobilisation does not take place just in Europe: from North America, with Boston, Montreal and New York in the first row, to Latin America, particularly in Mexico, Salvador and Honduras. A strong “no” to the death penalty rises also from Africa: major events were organised in Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Malawi, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This year, the mobilisation against the death penalty involves particularly Asia, where it assumes a more crucial importance than ever, as many of the countries that apply the death penalty are concentrated right in the Asian continent. "No Justice without Life", two major conferences in Tokyo and Manila, brought together activists, witnesses and public figures, raising public awareness and recording a greater attention of several Asian governments towards the campaign against the death penalty.

On this 30 November events, torchlight processions and prayer vigils were scheduled also in Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Cambodia and Hong Kong, making the World Day of Cities for Life into the largest contemporaneous planetary mobilisation, to indicate a higher and more civil form of justice, able to finally renounce the death penalty.

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