Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the death penalty in Belarus
Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (23 December) on the death penalty in Belarus:
It has once again emerged that a death sentence was carried out in Belarus. The Federal Government has repeatedly stated that it firmly believes that the death penalty violates the right to life, which is the most fundamental human right. It therefore categorically rejects the death penalty. The Federal Government is working with its partners around the world to bring about the abolition of the death penalty.
I call upon the Belarusian Government to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death sentence and to suspend further executions as a first step towards the abolition of capital punishment.
On 17 December, Alexander Osipovitch was executed in Belarus. Belarus is the only country in Europe in which death sentences are still handed down and carried out. It is not a member of the Council of Europe. A referendum was held in 1996 that confirmed the death penalty. The most recent executions took place in June 2019. The death sentence that has now been carried out was imposed in May 2019. The Federal Government has repeatedly called on the Belarusian Government to abolish the death penalty.