The European Union (EU) today welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha that Sri Lanka would vote in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the Death Penalty.
A joint statement issue by the EU in Colombo said that the European Union, Norway and Switzerland oppose the Death Penalty in all circumstances.
The statement noted that the Death Penalty represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and violates the right to life universally affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Its worldwide abolition is a priority.
The statement said that evidence from around the world shows there is no evidence that the Death Penalty deters crime. It also notes that the Death Penalty is irreversible, mistaken identity and wrongful convictions do happen, many death sentences are issued after confessions obtained by torture and innocent people die.
The statement also noted that suspects are more likely to be sentenced to death if they are poor or belong to an ethnic or religious minority.
Last year, at least 22 countries around the world carried out executions and at least 2,466 people were sentenced to death – an increase of 28%. Many of those convicted spend years on Death Row, waiting to see if a reprieve will be granted.
Sri Lanka currently has more than 400 prisoners under sentence of Death. 101 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
“Make your voice heard for Sri Lanka to be part of the solution – not part of the problem. Tweet #NoDeathPenalty,” the joint statement added.
The statement was signed by David Daly, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Dr. Jürgen Morhard, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Paolo Andrea Bartorelli, Ambassador of Italy to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Joanne Doornewaard, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Dr. Victor Chiujdea, Ambassador of Romania to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, James Dauris, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. (Colombo Gazette)