Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (10 October) on the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty:
The death penalty must be abolished all around the world. It is not only incompatible with our understanding of human rights, but also runs counter to the right to life.
Germany made an unequivocal decision at the end of the Second World War to remove this punishment from its legislation. After all, the risk of miscarriages of justice has been proven as has the death penalty’s lack of deterrent effect. Countries that still impose the death penalty should, at the very least, suspend their execution as a first step. Germany is working to achieve this together with its European partners in the United Nations.
In recent decades, more and more countries around the world have restricted or abolished the death penalty. While fewer than 60 countries continue to impose it, they include close partners of Germany such as Japan and the US. In the US, death sentences were carried out at federal level in July 2020 for the first time since 2003. In Europe, Belarus is the only country to use the death penalty. The majority of death sentences last year were imposed in China with over 650 executions and with in excess of 250 executions in Iran. Supporting initiatives to abolish the death penalty is a priority of German human rights policy.
Together with its EU partners, Germany has been actively campaigning against the death penalty for many years, including within the framework of the United Nations and the OSCE.