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November 12 2010


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Mario Marazziti, Community of Sant'Egidio.

"107 votes in favor of the new resolution for a universal moratorium on executions in view to complete abolition. 38 votes against and 36 abstentions. A great success which marks an irreversible trend towards the worldwide end of capital punishment. The death penalty becomes smaller, as shown not only the more votes in favor, but especially the eight votes less than former time against.

It has been a hard work, even at the UN. I have seen the growing number of co-sponsors, and the new text of the resolution becoming "more universal". Together with Amnesty International and the WCADP we worked closely with the Working Group and in bilateral meetings with countries that still have the death penalty in their legislation. The satisfaction is therefore very great.

The Community of Sant'Egidio has worked directly with the change in the two countries, Mongolia and the Maldives, which have passed from the opposite front to the abolitionist front. And it is a particular cause for satisfaction the courageous choice of major countries: a double check that the change is stated also in Asia and in countries with Muslim tradition. One last mission in Mongolia, in November, with meetings with the President and the opposition parties, and President of the Maldives last summer, are part of this success. Along with a course of legislative support and the relationship with public opinion and the ministers of justice, with Tanzania, Gabon, Togo, Guatemala, and twenty other countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, showing how you can make the practice of Justice the historic Resolution approved in 2007, setting the abolition of capital punishment as a new standard of respect for human rights worldwide.

In the meantime, states like New Mexico and New Jersey, countries like Gabon and Burundi and Uzbekistan have put the death penalty in the past. We are witnessing a significant drop in executions in PRC, and a different mood from the United States to India, at the minimum ever number of executions.

It is the fruit of a great synergy, institutional and at the level of civil society organizations. Europe has played a big role, and within it a strong proof of common foreign policy has seen equally committed all member countries and at the forefront the Italian Mission to the UN led by Ambassador Ragaglini and advisers Cacciaguerra and Zelioli. A role exercised with discretion and in cooperation with the task force formed by ten international countries, from Argentina to New Zealand to Burundi to Timor Leste, as proof of a changing sensibility in the world. The work of international organizations gathered in the World Coalition against the Death Penalty has done the rest.

It is a process that continues, and shows as increasingly necessary, a justice always able to respect life and that never lowers the state and civil society to the level of those who kill.

It is a new moral standard and or respect for human rights stating in the conscience of the world, slowly but steadily.

We hope that this will also stop the sentences just imposed on Tariq Aziz and Aasia Bibi, just convicted in Pakistan for the crime of "blasphemy", and whose convictions are under appeal processes."

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