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On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (10 October):
The death penalty is utterly incompatible with our understanding of human rights. It violates human dignity and the right to life. Miscarriages of justice, which can happen even in the best judicial systems of this world, cannot be corrected once someone has been executed. The death penalty must be abolished all over the world. At the very least however, states should refrain from carrying out death sentences. That is what we are working for together with our European partners.
In recent decades, more and more states around the world have restricted or abolished the death penalty. However, around a fifth of the 193 UN member states continue to execute people today. While the death penalty was the rule in the 1980s, it is now the exception. In Europe, Belarus is the only country to use the death penalty.
This year, the European Union will again present a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the UN General Assembly. Supporting initiatives on abolishing the death penalty is a priority of German human rights policy. The German Government advocates the abolishment of the death penalty in talks with governments worldwide and supports civil society projects on this topic.