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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP welcomes Euro-MP’s condemnation of death penalty

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has welcomed today’s overwhelming vote confirming the European Parliament’s continuing opposition to the death penalty [1].

The resolution, which marks the eighth World Day Against the Death Penalty [2], called on the EU and its Member States to enforce the implementation of the UN resolution on a universal moratorium on executions with a view to total abolition in all states which still practice death penalty [3].

Jean said: “Today my colleagues in the European Parliament have taken an important step towards full abolish of the death penalty by condemning all executions wherever they take place and committing themselves to greater cooperation, education, awareness-raising, efficiency and effectiveness in achieving this crucial EU objective.

“The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, which violates the universal right to life and disproportionately affects the underprivileged. Furthermore there is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments.

“Despite these fundamental truths, 43 countries worldwide retain the death penalty more than 20,000 men, women and children are on death [4]. But it is not just countries with dubious human rights records that practice this barbaric punishment. The US, the focus of this year’s World Day Against The Death Penalty, executed 52 people last year, including Teresa Lewis, who was borderline mentally disabled.

“Fighting to abolish the death penalty must be a priority for the European Council, Commission and individual Member States, and only then can we rid the world of this abhorrent practice.”

Notes to Editors

[1] The resolution was passed by 574 votes to 25 with 39 abstentions. To read the resolution in full please visit:

[2] The eighth World Day Against the Death Penalty take places on Saturday, October 10. For more information please visit:

[3] The highest number of executions took place in 2009 in China, Iran and Iraq. China alone carried out about 5000 or 88% of the world total of executions, Iran put at least 402 people to death, Iraq at least 77 and Saudi Arabia, at least 69.  Other countries which still apply the death penalty are Egypt, Malaysia, Sudan, Thailand, North-Korea, Vietnam, Japan and the United States.

Belarus remains the only European country still applying the death penalty in practice, although the EP also calls on Kazakhstan and Latvia to amend their national laws that still allow the death penalty for certain crimes under exceptional circumstances.

[4] Figures taking from Amnesty International Report, 2006.