The Community of Sant’Egidio gladly welcomes the big step taken by the United Nations when, just a short while ago, the General Assembly approved a new resolution calling for a Universal Moratorium of capital punishment.
A victory for the front of opposition to the culture of death in every circumstance. 106 votes in favour, only 46 against, with the abstentions lowered to 34. The vote reflects an increase in countries favourable to the resolution, more than the 102 which approved it last year, when a resolution for a Universal Moratorium was approved for the first time.
The vote represents a step in the direction of a culture of life and of a system of justice which always respects life. It comes at the end of an exceptional year, which started with the abolition of capital punishment in Uzbekistan, followed by Burundi and in recent days the addition of Togo to the list of abolitionist countries.
It confirms a change in the world’s perception and a new and higher threshold of respect for human rights. The death penalty is a remnant of the past, like slavery and torture were for a long time before being rejected by the world’s conscience. While respecting the right of every country to choose the most appropriate instruments to defend its citizens and repress crime, the General Assembly of the United Nations has reaffirmed that the abolition of the death penalty is an objective for the entire international community, insofar as it deals with human rights and, as such, is an issue for the entire world.
It is a breakthrough for civilization.