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Final declaration for the 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty


Madrid – June 15, 2013

the participants in the 5th World Congress against the Death Penalty, held in Madrid (Spain), June 12 to 15, 2013, organized by the Association Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and sponsored by Spain, Norway, Switzerland and France, and in partnership with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

ADOPT this Declaration, after three days of intense debates, shared experiences and testimonies, numerous commitments from abolitionist states and a variety of institutions and international and intergovernmental organisations, as well as the attention of retentionist States attending the World Congress against the Death Penalty.


• that the abolitionist movement is expanding in a world where 70% of the states no longer implement the death penalty, by law or de facto ;
• that since the World Congresses in Strasbourg, 2001, Montreal, 2004, Paris, 2007 and Geneva, 2010, including this 2013 World Congress against the Death Penalty, supported by the 145 member organisations of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, together with the International Commission against the Death Penalty, States, Regional or National coalitions of organisations and civil society, parliamentarian and, academics networks, have united their forces to promote the abolition of the death penalty;
• that the abolitionist States are increasingly including the issue of universal abolition in their international network, and are more and more likely to make it a major issue of their international policy to promote human rights;
• that the links between, on the one hand, civil society, and on the other hand, States and intergovernmental, regional and international organisations are gaining strength;
• that retentionist States, such as Iraq, are showing a growing concern on the issue of the implementation of the death penalty, or, for some of the de facto abolitionist countries, are showing a growing trend towards the debate on the legal abolition of death penalty.


• 93 countries still retain the death penalty in their legal arsenal and 58 countries still implement it; every year, thousands of people are sentenced to death in the world, including in China, Iran, countries where executions take place almost every day, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the USA;
• Some countries have resumed executions after the death penalty was suspended, such as India, Japan, Indonesia, and Gambia after 27 years of moratorium, while others plan to reintroduce the death penalty;
• The death penalty still affects juveniles and the mentally disabled, discriminating on the basis of ethnic, religious or social origin, skin color, and sexual orientation or gender identity;
• Those sentenced to death are often subjected, by reason of their status, to deteriorated conditions that violate human dignity.



Intergovernmental organizations and international organizations:

• To continue and intensify their cooperation with States and civil society to promote the universal abolition of the death penalty.

Retentionist states:

• To reduce by law the list of capital crimes, including those related to the repression of drug trafficking and the fight against terrorism;
• To comply with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, renouncing the execution of juveniles;
• To publish regular and reliable information on their implementation of the death penalty;
• To work toward the abolition of the death penalty by establishing a moratorium on death sentences and executions in accordance with the resolution for a moratorium on the application of the death penalty passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations since 2007 and by ratifying, following the example of Benin or Mongolia, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations.

Abolitionist states:

• To commit, beyond words, to concrete and stronger action in favour of the universal abolition of the death penalty, especially in their diplomatic relations with retentionists states;
• To sign and ratify regional agreements, particularly in Asia and Africa, or to encourage their emergence when they do not yet exist;
• To sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations;
• To promote, when they benefit from international financial assistance for the fight against drug trafficking, the non-application of the death penalty.


• To unite in national, regional and international networks and bring the debate to abolish to the heart of retentionists Parliaments.

Judges in retentionist countries:

• To use their discretionary power to individualise sentences, to not sentence to death or to encourage juries to decide not to condemn to death.

Abolitionist civil society and academic actors:

• To act jointly with, and eventually join, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty and strengthen interactions;
• To undertake educational activities for abolition with the public; policy makers; primary, secondary and College students, including each year for the annual World Day against the Death Penalty on October 10 and the Cities for Life on November 30.

Redacted in Madrid, June 15, 2013
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