Final statement of the conference of the World coalition against the death penalty on capital punishment in MENA region, July 2009

Press release

Madrid Statement

Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación - Casa

1)We, the participants of the civil society of the Arab countries, have met in Madrid, Spain, the 14th and the 15th of July at the kind invitation of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Casa Arabe, to discuss the situation of the death penalty in Arab countries, and to consult on possible ways of working together towards a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in these countries.

2)Recalling the Alexandria Declaration, which calls upon the Arab countries to implement UNGA Resolution 62/149 on the Establishment of a Moratorium on the use of the Death Penalty;

3)Reiterating that we consider the use of the death penalty to be a violation of the most fundamental human right, i.e. the right to life; and that it has not succeeded in deterring or in preventing criminality in any country;

4)Regretting the fact that death sentences and executions continue to be carried out in numerous Arab countries;

5)Noting with concern the increasingly high number of crimes, punished by the death penalty,

6)Request the Arab governments, each according to its own circumstances, to fully comply with the United Nation General Assembly’ resolutions 62/149 and 63/168 and to support the objective of a moratorium in forthcoming UN debates.

7)Urge Arab governments that have not yet done so to ensure that their penal and criminal procedure codes comply with international standards, in particular minimum standards, as set out in the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50 of 25 May 1984;

8)Reiterate Alexandria and Algiers Conferences’ recommendations on the Arab Charter for Human rights concerning the article 7 which does not comply with international standards concerning the prohibition of the death penalty for capital offences committed by juveniles under the age 18 years and urge the Arab League to take all needed measures to take action on this1.

9)Urge the Arab countries to provide the UN Secretary General (on an annual basis) with official statistical data on the number of persons sentenced to death and executed and for which crimes, by age and gender, and to publish this information.

10) Call on Arab Governments that still make use of the death penalty to progressively restrict its use and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed;

11)Encourage the full collaboration between the governmental bodies, but also the members of the parliament, the judiciaries, the media and the civil society members to open a real debate at the national level on the establishment of a moratorium to executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty in the future.

12)Urge the Arab governments to establish an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which will serve as a viable tool to guarantee justice while a large debate on the revision of criminal codes is under progress among Arab countries.

13)Appeal to Arab states which have observed a de facto moratorium to remove this punishment from their legislation in order to prevent its circumstantial use;

14)Underline the need to target, as an ultimate goal, the ratification of the second optional protocol to the ICCPR;

15)Emphasize the need for the civil society to continue intensifying its activities to convince the public that narrowing and eventually abolishing the death penalty serves the ambition of the Arab people in fulfilling their aspiration to justice and human rights.

16)We encourage in every country full collaboration between the governmental bodies, members of parliament, the judiciary, the media and civil society members so as to open a real debate at a national level on the abolition of the death penalty, and while this iis in process to establish an official moratorium on the imposition of all death sentences and executions.

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