Just a few days after the Third Commission of the U.N. General Assembly renewed it’s anti-death penalty stance and Burundi abolished capital punishment, on November 30, 2008 close to 1,000 cities around the world, on five continents, will hold rallies in favour of a universal moratorium. It will be the largest international mobilization to date to put an end to executions.
In addition to Burundi, this year Uzbekistan also joined the line-up of countries that have abolished the death penalty. In Africa, other countries have embarked upon a path that leads to a moratorium and abolition of the death penalty by law. At the end of last year, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda and Gabon wiped the death penalty off their books. In the United States, another state, New Jersey, abolished the death penalty on December 17, 2007. In Asia, China has taken some positive steps while still remaining the country with the highest number of executions. Important changes in both legislation and public opinion were detected in Lebanon, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan. Last but not least, the Russian Federation renewed its moratorium until 2010.
In Rome, the Community of Sant’Egidio - together with the city government - launched an initiative which has grown in the last five years to involve more than 900 cities in 73 countries. This year, Barcelona, Toronto, Brussels, cities in the Philippines and in Africa, along with Florence, Rome, Naples and most of the rest of Italy and Europe will be highlighted. Major international human rights organizations and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty officially support the initiative.
Curtis Mc Carty, Billy Moore, found innocent after spending years on death row, David Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and many other leading players in the international campaign to end the death penalty, witnesses, former death row inmates since proved innocent, families of the victims will be present in many European capitals. In particular, in Rome, on November 29, many will participate in a meeting in the Julius Caesar Hall of City Hall, scheduled for 15:30 called to take stock of the death penalty situation around the world. It will be a special event, with many participants, either present or appearing in a video, including cultural figures and other guests taking part.
The World Day “Cities for Life, Cities against the Death Penalty” will be inaugurated on November 29, at 19:00, in front of the Colosseum, which will be specially lit up for the occasion.
Stories, information and statistics on the death penalty thoughout the world, a list of international and national initiatives coming up, biographies of the figures involved will be handed out. It will be possible to organize special initiatives with media representatives of the participating cities.
For direct contacts with former death row inmates and other representatives present in Rome, tel. 39.06.58566301/02/03 - 39.335.8381334 - com@santegidio.