Open letter to President Moon Jae-in on moratorium on the use of the death penalty

Open Letter

Paris, 28 January 2021

Moon Jae-in
President of the Republic of Korea
1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu
Seoul 03048
Republic of Korea
Fax: +82 2-770-4721

Mr. President,

FIDH welcomes the Republic of Korea’s first-ever vote in favor of the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA’s) resolution to establish a global moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to fully abolishing capital punishment, which was passed on 16 December 2020. The resolution was adopted with an all-time high of 123 votes in favor.

We believe this historic vote in favor of the UNGA resolution sends a positive signal to the international community and shows the Republic of Korea’s commitment to making progress towards the abolition of the death penalty.

South Korea has not carried out an execution since 1997 and has therefore become a de facto abolitionist state. However, 61 individuals remain on death row.

In keeping with the Republic of Korea’s vote on the UNGA resolution, FIDH calls upon your administration to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions and to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment by taking these additional steps:

  Commute all death sentences to prison terms.
  Promote the amendment of all laws that prescribe the death penalty for various criminal offenses.
  Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

These measures would remain a key legacy of your presidency and highlight the Republic of Korea’s role as a leader in the progress towards abolition for other Asian countries. We express our sincere hopes that you will act on these recommendations, leading to the abolition of the death penalty.

FIDH, a member of the World Coalition on the Death Penalty (WCADP), and its 192 member organizations worldwide will continue to oppose the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances and work for its global abolition.

We thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Mogwe
President, FIDH

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