18th World Day Against the Death Penalty


Pope Francis in Fratelli tutti  expresses just as clearly a position with regard to the death penalty: it is inadmissible and must be abolished worldwide. Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity” – the Pope writes – “and God himself pledges to guarantee this” (Par 263-269). 

While working towards the total and complete abolition of the death penalty worldwide for all crimes, it is crucial to alert civil society and the international community to the necessity that, at all stages of the legal proceedings, those facing the cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment of execution should at least have access to effective legal representation. Such legal aid can provide the basic protection of either avoiding the sentence or appealing the verdict.

Without access to effective legal representation during arrest, detention, trial and post-trial, due process cannot be guaranteed. In a capital case, the consequences that can arise from a lack of effective legal representation can be nothing less than the difference between life and death.

On the national and international levels, the right to legal representation is enshrined in most constitutions and human rights instruments. Unfortunately, justice systems around the world repeatedly violate this right and fail to give those charged with a crime adequate legal representation.

What can I do?

  1. Organize a demonstration.
    2. Organize a gathering on a videoconference platform. It can take the shape of a webinar, remote workshop, conversation, a public debate or even a virtual film screening to create awareness.
    3. Coordinate a letter/email writing campaign.
    4. Participate in a TV showor with a community radio station.
    5.  Organize an art exhibition(of artwork made by people sentenced to death, of photographs of death row, of drawings or posters) or a [virtual] theatre performance.
    6.  Join the events prepared for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
    7.  Donate to a group working to end the death penalty.
    8.  Follow the social media campaign on FacebookInstagram and Twitter: use #nodeathpenalty or click here to tweet against capital punishment!
    9. Mobilize the media to raise awareness on the issue of the death penalty.
    10. Participate in “Cities Against the Death Penalty/Cities for Life” on 30 November 2020.
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