The reestablishment of the death penalty in Peru is a setback for human rights

17/08/2006
Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) wishes to convey its utmost dismay regarding the announcement made on August 8th by Alan Garcia, president of Peru according to which he plans to put forward a bill or a referendum, in order to reform the current Constitution and reestablish the death penalty for those guilty of rape or assassination of underages.

FIDH recalls that Peru abolished capital punishment in 1979 (from then on, only carried out in cases of treason in times of war) and that the country has committed itself to respecting various international treaties on human rights, among which the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica (Inter-American Convention on Human Rights), which in its article 4(3) states that it is impossible for those countries that have abolished the death penalty to reestablish it. FIDH is deeply concerned by the solution proposed by the president of the Peruvian Parliament, Mercedes Cabanillas, according to which Peru could denounce part of the Pact of San Jose in order to implement the death penalty for children’s rapists and assassins.

FIDH believes that the reestablishment of the death penalty would be a serious setback as regards respect for human rights, and that Peru would consequently be turning its back against the current general tendency in favour of the abolition of the death penalty.

As the president of the FIDH, Sidiki Kaba, put it: « regardless of the seriousness of the crime, we are against the death penalty. We have never seen proof of its dissuasive power, and it is a punishment that is contrary to the idea of human dignity and to the right to life». Due to its irreversible character, the death penalty contradicts the idea of human freedom, and is considered as a human rights violation as well as a cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

FIDH calls upon the Peruvian authorities to give up this bill, to maintain the abolition of the death penalty for common crimes and to promote a public debate about the sentences foreseen for the most serious crimes, with the double objective of punishing criminals and working towards their rehabilitation.

FIDH also calls upon the Peruvian government to protect children’s lives and rights within the framework of a democratic legislation respectful of human rights.

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