What if you are sentenced to death just because you can’t afford a good lawyer to help prove your innocence? What if you end up on ‘death row’ just because you don’t know your legal rights?
Death row prisoners around the world often come from the margins of society and rarely have access to good legal assistance.
On the occasion of World Day against the Death Penalty today, the European Union reiterates its strong and unequivocal opposition to the use of the death penalty - at all times, and in all circumstances.
The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading in nature, and, it makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible and fatal. There is no evidence to prove that the death penalty prevents or reduces crime.
Our greatest concern is that the death penalty violates the inalienable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Therefore, the EU calls for a universal abolition of the death penalty, including in Malawi, where a de facto moratorium is in place since 1992, but, where people are still sentenced to death and can spend the rest of their life on death row.
In his September 4th State of the Nation address, His Excellency President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera noted his intention to move Malawi’s justice system from a punitive one to a correctional one. Abolishing the death penalty will be a major welcome step in this direction.
It’s time now for Malawi to join the growing number of countries worldwide - 142 and counting - that have abolished the death penalty.
Juergen Borsch Aurelie Valtat Anne Holmes
German Ambassador EU Charge d’affaires Irish Charge d’affaires