“New mobilizing concepts must now be invented on a global scale in order to achieve the following ideal: equality in dignity and in rights of all human beings.”
Françoise Héritier, anthropologist and follower of Claude Levi-Strauss.
The World Congress is now only a month away, and ECPM teams are doing everything they can to obtain a broad international political mobilization for the Madrid Congress. It is essential to involve every political actor to make the abolition of the death penalty possible in law. This requires inventing “new mobilizing concepts”.
ECPM has started a Core Group of World Congress supporters, which is composed of many abolitionist countries from every continent including Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Rwanda, Morocco (via the CNDH), Monaco, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and France. Many other countries will certainly join this informal group. Their role is to support us in reaching the highest authorities in countries that retain the death penalty, and in countries where it is no longer in use but has not been legally abolished.
The main objective of this engagement is to reach the executive power via heads of government, ministers of foreign affairs, and ministers of justice (and sometimes the ministers of the interior). More prosaically, we expect the presence of a large number of diplomats and government representatives who will see the incredible diversity of abolitionists and who experience the strength of our arguments. On May 30, 2013, our investigative mission on Tunisia’s death row will be published, providing another tool for mobilization and advocacy. (See interview Samy Ghorbal).
The presence of ambassadors from “difficult” retentionist countries is already a big step in the dialogue towards abolition. We must be able to convince them that abolition is the way of the future and of reason, and only meetings and debates will help us go forward.
Charles de Gaulle said in his War Memoirs that “anything can happen someday, even that an act conforming to honor and honesty can end up, at the end of the line, as a good political decision”.
Political commitment is needed from abolitionist countries to demonstrate that the abolition of the death penalty is a global challenge. Civil society activists are not alone: they work hand in hand with diplomats from dozens of abolitionist countries to change the world and make it better.
Finally, the political mobilization inevitably involves parliaments. In the end, that is where legislation abolishing the death penalty will be ratified. The presence of many MPs from around the world at the World Congress will be a guarantee of its successful role of global leadership.
At this point, it is worth recalling the speech by Robert Badinter before the French parliament on September 17, 1981, which marked the history of French politics and abolitionist history in general. We hope that it will serve as an example and as an inspiration to the politicians of today and of tomorrow.
Executive Director ECPM
Vice-President World Coalition Against the Death Penalty