20th World Day against the Death Penalty: another great gathering before Berlin!

10 October 2022

Today, on October 10, 2022, the abolitionnist community is celebrating the 20th World Day against the Death Penalty worldwide, another great gathering before the 8th World congress against the death penalty that will be held in Berlin from November 15-18, 2022. This year’s theme « The death penalty, a road paved with torture, chosen by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, will encourage many organisations from the civil society, political figures, intergovernamental institutions representatives and activists to meet up all week long and participate to a great variety of events aiming at raising awareness among the public about their common fight.


The death penalty around the world

  • At least 28 000 people were sentenced to death in the world as of 2021
  • As of 2021, 108 abolitionist states have abolished the death penalty
  • As of 2021, 52 States still used the death penalty
  • Equatorial Guinea is the latest state to abolish the death penalty
  • In 2022, 2 States removed the death penalty from their legal system (CAR and Equatorial Guinea)
  • In 2022, 11 States still sentence people to death for homosexuality

To advance the fight against the death penalty, ECPM looks forward to seeing you at the 8th World congress against the death penalty. Over a thousand participants from 90 countries are expected in the German capital this autumn for the world's largest abolitionist meeting: during four days, political figures, activists, committed citizens and young people from around the world will come together to discuss the situation of capital punishment. You can not make it to Berlin on these dates? No worries, the main sessions will be live streamed. Register now through our new free app to keep updated!




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Capital punishment: a torture that goes beyong the execution itself

At the heart of this year's discussions is the death row syndrome, the phenomenon according to which sentencing someone to death, confining him or her in a prison far from his or her family and leaving him or her to languish there for many years while awaiting execution constitutes torture, leading to serious psychological consequences identified as resulting from the harshness of the conditions of detention, the length of the incarceration and the anguish of living while awaiting execution.

This day is a timely opportunity to discuss this phenomenon, which is difficult to identify and very rarely recognised in national legislation or jurisprudence, and which will also be addressed at the 8th World Congress against the Death Penalty (full programme available here).

More broadly, capital punishment represents torture beyond the execution itself, at several levels of the legal path of the person sentenced to death:

  • Whether physical, sexual or psychological, it can be used to extract confessions which are then used to indict individuals and sentence them to death.
  • Family members of victims, family members of death row inmates and relatives of death row inmates are also subjected to a form of psychological torture.

World youth is mobilising for the abolition

Ahmed Haou Ⓒ Cristophe Meireis


Contest: Draw me the abolition

As every year, ECPM and its partners in the International Network for Abolition Education are organising the International Poster Competition "Draw me the abolition", aimed at raising awareness on the issue among young people. The competition opens today for young people aged 12 to 25 from all over the world. The 50 best posters selected by an international jury will be exhibited in the participating countries and at the next Congresses against the death penalty organised by ECPM.




Abolition Now Tour

On the occasion of this world day, the Lebanese delegation of the Abolition Now Tour organised a conference on Sunday 9 October, hosted by the municipality of Biblos, with the support and in the presence of MP Ziad Hawat and Antoinette Chahine, former death row inmate in Lebanon. This was the last great meeting before gathering with the other 5 delegations of the programme at the 8th World Congress against the Death Penalty in Berlin!



Transmission at the heart of the events

In Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Youth Forum will be held in partnership with the Tunisian Coalition against the Death Penalty (CTCPM) and Culture for Peace and Justice. In Tunisia, this event will be dedicated to the creation of a Youth Abolitionist Network and a video spot "Youth against the death penalty". International guests will be present: the witness Ahmed Haou (former death row inmate in Morocco) and the lawyer Rafic Zakharia (LACR, Lebanon).




Help us share our fight

To help us, please share our arguments, figures, testimonies of former death row inmates, stories of people executed and witnesses of inhuman, cruel and degrading experiences amounting to torture in the context of capital punishment, and work with human rights organisations fighting for the abolition of torture to widen the abolitionist community.