17th World Day Against the Death Penalty: Children, Unseen Victims

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On 10 October 2019, the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty aims at raising awareness on the rights of children whose parents have been sentenced to death or executed.

Frequently forgotten, children of parents sentenced to death or executed carry a heavy emotional and psychological burden that can amount to the violation of their human rights.

This trauma can occur at any and all stages of the capital punishment of a parent: arrest, trial, sentencing, death row stays, execution dates, execution itself, and its aftermath. The repeated cycles of hope and disappointment that can accompany all of these stages can have a long-term impact, occasionally well into adulthood.

Stigmatization from the community in which they live and the loss of a parent at the hands of a state all reinforce deep instability in the child’s day to day life. In line with the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (20 November 1989), the focus of this World Day is on children and their human rights.

Children: unseen victims of the death penalty

The death penalty in practice:

• 106 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes
• 8 countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes
• 28 countries are abolitionist in practice
• 56 countries are retentionist
• 20 countries carried out executions in 2018
• In 2018, the top 10 executioners were China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Iraq, Egypt, USA, Japan, Pakistan and Singapore.

To know more about the death penalty...

... all over the world: read the facts & figures
... and the rights of the child whose a parent is under a death sentence: read the leaflet, the detailed factsheet and the briefing tools for practitioners

10 things you can do to end the death penalty (check the mobilization kit):

1. Organize a demonstration: a sit-in, a ‘die-in’, a flash mob. Include teddy bears and toys in your demonstration to represent the unseen victims of this World Day

2. Take action in a school or university to create awareness amongst similar age groups (invite a speaker or read testimonies to provoke discussion, etc)

3. Encourage people to draw images or write letters as if they were addressing children who have a parent who has been executed or sentenced to death. Publish them online using #nodeathpenalty

4. Organize a public debate and a movie screening with families of people sentenced to death, exonerees, their lawyers and experts

5. Organize an art exhibition (of art work made by people sentenced to death, of photographs of death row, of drawings or posters) or a 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 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: #nodeathpenalty (in the picture or video, display a teddy bear ora toy to represent the unseen victims of this World Day)

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 2018

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