We, the participants of the first Regional Congress about the Death Penalty in the Maghreb region and the Middle East held from October 18 to October 20 2012 in Rabat, members of civil society, Members of Parliament, diplomats, lawyers, attorneys, students, organizations, human rights activists and citizens,
Note that :
• In the Maghreb region and the Middle East only Djibouti has abolished the death penalty.
• However, several countries in the region either observe a de facto moratorium on executions because their Heads of State refuse to sign execution orders (Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon) or have reduced the number of crimes punishable by death (Jordan and Lebanon). Nevertheless, several countries, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, execute a number of death row inmates every year.
• For several years, and particularly since the Arab Spring in 2011, countries in this region have been attempting, sometimes relatively quickly, to strengthen the democratic process, sign up to International Human Rights Conventions, reform the penal code and engage in discussions about the death penalty and its eventual abolition.
• We all share a profound consideration for the cultural and religious values of the countries in this region which advocate respect for human life.
Urge/Invite the States in this region :
• To adopt a moratorium on executions.
• To initiate a debate on the death penalty nationally, including in Parliament.
• To signifi cantly reduce the number of crimes punishable by death in the penal code.
• To support and vote in favour of the resolution for a universal moratorium on the death penalty at the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2012.
• To ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, known as ‘Protocol 2’.
• To abolish the death penalty in the near future.
Urge/Invite the Arab League :
• To create a working group on ‘the death penalty’ within their Commission on Human Rights.
• To revise the Arab Charter on Human Rights to bring their criteria into line with international human rights
standards and particularly withdraw Article 7-1 which provides for the execution of juveniles.
Urge/Invite Members of Parliament of the States in this region :
• To add abolition of the death penalty to the political agenda of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Urge/Invite Civil Society Organizations in this region :
• To set up National and Local Coalitions, following the example of the Maghreb Coalition against the Death Penalty created during this Congress, in order to federate support with a view to global abolition of the death penalty.
• To join the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty which brings together more than 135 member organizations from all continents.
Urge/ Invite all participants to join abolitionists for the 5th World Congress
which will take place in Madrid in June 2013.
October 20 2012