New York

09 October 2014

Secretary-General's video message on the World Day Against the Death Penalty

Your Excellency, Mr. Maurizio Enrico Luigi Serra, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations Office in Geneva;
Distinguished human rights officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the European Union and the Italian Government for this commemoration of the World Day against the Death Penalty.

Since the General Assembly adopted its first resolution on a moratorium seven years ago, more States acknowledge that the death penalty undermines human dignity. It fails to deter crimes more than other punishments. Abolition – or at least a moratorium – contributes to human rights.

The taking of life is too irreversible for one person to inflict on another.

We must continue arguing strongly that the death penalty is unjust and incompatible with fundamental human rights.

I urge leaders where the death penalty still is used to legally commute or pardon death sentences – and to impose moratoriums on executions.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.

I call on States that have not yet done so to ratify the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at abolition of the death penalty.

I hope to see many more ratifications during the Protocol’s 25th anniversary this year.

The United Nations will continue working to end this cruel punishment.