APPEAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS FOR A MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS
To the UN Secretary-General,
We, the undersigned, believe that the human race must evolve, and the abolition of the death penalty is not only an individual need that strengthens the inviolability of the person, but also a vital, universal need. It is the ultimate goal of the 20th century; the meeting point of different civilizations.
"Hands off Cain" paraphrases the words of the Bible, and for us this ancient commandment means that the State cannot dispose of the lives of its citizens. While many people are in favor of retaining or reinstating the death penalty, their profound sense of justice is misplaced by crime that endangers us all.
The abolition of the death penalty is a belief shared by the International Community. On April 20, 2005, for the†ninth year running, the UN Commission on Human Rights established that "the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights", asking retentionist States "to establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to completely abolishing the death penalty".
The Courts set up by the Security Council to pronounce judgement on genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass extermination, and other serious crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the Statute of the Permanent International Court for crimes against humanity, all categorically exclude capital punishment, whereas a number of States actually inflict the death penalty for far less serious crimes.
We, the undersigned, ask the United Nation General Assembly to lead the International Community away from this intolerable anachronism, by establishing a universal moratorium on executions with a view to total abolition.
After the abolition of slavery and the banning of torture, the right not to be killed following a legal sentence could be another common denominator, a new inalienable aspect of being human that makes us one family.†
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