The death penalty is an inhuman and particularly cruel form of punishment. Germany is against capital punishment under any circumstances and, together with partners around the world, is resolutely campaigning for its abolition.
In the year 2022, the death penalty is still on the statute book in 80 countries. It is still actually applied in 55 of those countries. In some countries, people are executed because they oppose authoritarian regimes and fight for their fundamental rights. In such places, the death penalty is also used as a threat to intimidate people and silence them.
As Foreign Minister Baerbock said to the Süddeutsche Zeitung in this context:
The list of reasons that militate against the death penalty is long. These are just some of them: it is a punishment that is irreversible, and which is imposed by fallible justice systems; its deterrent effect is at best questionable, and it frequently goes hand in hand with structural discrimination. But ultimately, in my mind, the point is that no state has the right to take its citizens’ lives. End of story.
The Congress brings anti-death penalty activists and lawyers together with former death row inmates, as well as members of parliament, diplomats and government ministers from 90 countries around the world. They will discuss specific initiatives to make capital punishment a thing of the past worldwide in the near future.
The World Congress provides an important platform for countries who are moving towards abolition of the death penalty. These include states like Liberia and Zambia, which have introduced bills in their parliaments to abolish the death penalty completely. The Justice Minister of Sierra Leone will report on how his country recently managed to abolish the death penalty. Another key feature of the Congress is the space it gives the many civil society representatives to report on their experiences. They include former prisoners who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to die, but who were in the end saved from execution because their innocence was proven after years, and in some cases many years, on death row.