The 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty is underway in Oslo. It will see civil and political representatives, lawyers and journalists from around the world discuss the universal abolition of the death penalty. Australia is pleased to co-sponsor the Congress for the first time.
The Australian Government will be represented at the Congress by the Special Envoy for Human Rights, the Hon Philip Ruddock, and the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs.
The Congress comes at an important time. While the number of countries imposing the death penalty continues to decline, regrettably the overall number of executions is increasing. Fifty six countries actively retain the death penalty – some execute hundreds of people each year.
There is no place for the death penalty in the modern world. The death penalty is cruel and inhumane. Miscarriages of justice can result in the inadvertent execution of innocents: minorities and the poor are disproportional victims.
Australia recognises that the path to abolishing the death penalty is not always politically or legislatively easy. But we welcome positive movement to our ultimate goal, a world without the death penalty.