Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (29 November):
It has emerged this week that a further two death sentences have been carried out in Belarus, bringing the number to four in 2018.
The German Government rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and is campaigning with its European partners for its worldwide abolition. The death penalty violates the right to life, an essential human right.
I call upon the Belarusian Government to introduce an immediate moratorium on the execution of the death sentence 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 not a member of the Council of Europe. A referendum conducted in the country in 1996 confirmed the death penalty. The most recent executions took place in May 2018. Two other people were sentenced to death in January 2018. The German Government campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty. During his visit to Minsk last November, the then Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, called upon President Lukashenko to abolish the death penalty, as did Federal President Steinmeier on a trip to Minsk in June 2018.