Brussels (Brussels Morning) French President Emmanuel Macron says he plans to push for the global abolition of the death penalty as parts of France’s coming EU presidency.
Speaking on Sunday on the 40th anniversary of the abolition of capital punishment in France, Macron announced he would convene a conference in Paris next year to campaign for global abolition, DW reported. France takes over the Presidency of the Council of the EU from Slovenia in the first half of the year.
“As part of the French presidency of the European Union, we will organise… a meeting in Paris at the highest level, bringing together civil society members from countries that still apply the death penalty”, Macron noted. The aim of the conference would be to convince leaders to join the push for its abolitioon.
Move lacks public support
France abolished the death penalty in 1981 despite more than 60% of its citizens being against the move. It became the 35th country to abolish the death penalty when it amended its constitution with an article that says “no one shall be sentenced to death.”
The latest polls now show that approximately 50% of the French favour the reintroducing of the death penalty.
Speaking alongside Macron, former Justice Minister Robert Badinter called the death penalty “a shame for humanity” and said it was his “absolute conviction” that it should “disappear”.
Badinter enacted the abolition when he served as Justice Minister under President François Mitterrand. “The death penalty does not protect society, it dishonours it”, he said on Sunday.
To mark the anniversary, France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs issued a statement describing the death penalty as a “violation of human rights.”
More than 50 countries still retain the death penalty, however, the number of public executions per year has been declining over the last ten years.According to Amnesty International, the countries carrying out the most executions last year were China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Belarus is the only country in Europe that has yet to abolish the death penalty.