EU Policy on Death Penalty

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  • 29/08/2014
    553 65744 1 _blank Statement by the Spokesperson on the executions in Japan Statement by the Spokesperson on the executions in Japan

    We deeply regret the execution in Japan of two death row inmates, Mitsuhiro Kobayashi and Tsutomu Takamizawa, today. Since the end of a de facto moratorium of 20 months in March 2012, eighteen persons have been executed in Japan.

    /statements/docs/2014/140829_02_en.pdf
    08/29/2014 16:18:00 08/29/2014 16:18:00 08/29/2014 16:18:00 nulldate 2014082916 <p>European External Action Service</p> 090126248c8cf87e N 090126248c8cf87e /statements/docs/2014/140829_02_en.pdf 438706 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140829_02_en.pdf 1 /statements/docs/2014/140829_02_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140829_02_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the executions in Japan pdf - 429 KB [429 KB]
  • 25/07/2014
    504 65744 1 _blank Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Mr Joseph Wood Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Mr Joseph Wood /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_en.pdf 07/25/2014 18:42:00 07/25/2014 18:42:00 07/25/2014 18:42:00 nulldate 2014072518 <p>European External Action Service</p> 090126248c5c3463 N 090126248c5c3463 /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_en.pdf 478009 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_en.pdf 2 /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_fr.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140725_04_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Mr Joseph Wood pdf - 467 KB [467 KB] français (fr)
  • 26/06/2014
    439 65744 1 _blank Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution in Japan Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution in Japan /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_en.pdf 06/26/2014 17:13:00 06/26/2014 17:13:00 06/26/2014 17:13:00 nulldate 2014062617 <p>European External Action Service</p> 090126248c2d5415 N 090126248c2d6e67 /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_en.pdf 475400 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_en.pdf 2 /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_fr.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140626_03_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution in Japan pdf - 465 KB [465 KB] français (fr)

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The European Union holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty; its abolition is a key objective for the Union’s human rights policy. Abolition is, of course, also a pre-condition for entry into the Union.

Indeed, the EU is the leading institutional actor and largest donor to the fight against the death penalty. This commitment is outlined clearly in the EU Guidelines on the death penalty, the first ever human rights guidelines adopted by Council, in 1998. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton has also indicated that abolishing capital punishment worldwide is a ‘personal priority’.

The death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and has not been shown in any way to act as a deterrent to crime. The European Union regards abolition as essential for the protection of human dignity, as well as for the progressive development of human rights.

If necessary, the EU advocates a moratorium as a first step towards abolition. The adoption of a resolution on this issue by the UN General Assembly in 2007 was a major breakthrough, while growing support for subsequent resolutions adopted in 2008 and 2010 has served to illustrate the worldwide trend in this direction.

Where the capital punishment is still used, the EU calls for it to be progressively restricted and insists that it be carried out according to international minimum standards.

The EU intervenes both on individual cases and at a general policy level when a country's policy on the death penalty is in flux. In 2009 alone, the EU issued statements on over 30 individual cases and carried out more than 30 other actions in favour of individuals at risk of execution.

EU funding also allows non-governmental organisations to campaign for the abolition of the death penalty. Projects may range from the monitoring of the use of the death penalty to assistance to prisoners, support for constitutional reform, training, advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns.