Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on death sentences in Belarus
Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (14 June) on the death penalty in Belarus:
It has once again emerged that at least one death sentence was carried out in Belarus.
The German Government firmly believes that the death penalty violates the right to life, a fundamental human right. It therefore rejects the death penalty and is campaigning with its European partners for its worldwide abolition.
The German Government has made its position clear to the Belarusian Government time and again. I call upon the Belarusian Government to immediately stop executing all death sentences as a first step towards the abolition of capital punishment.
Belarus is the only country in Europe in which death sentences are still handed down and carried out. This is why Belarus is also 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 November 2018. The death sentences that were now carried out were handed down in January 2018 and upheld on appeal in May 2019. The German Government has repeatedly urged the Belarusian Government to abolish the death penalty, most recently at the meeting between Federal President Steinmeier and President Lukashenko during Steinmeier’s trip to Minsk in June 2018.