Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations 3rd Committee: Following the Adoption of the Death Penalty Moratorium Resolution

New York, 17/11/2020 - 19:50, UNIQUE ID: 201117_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

17 November 2020, New York – General Statement by the European Union at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee following the adoption of the Resolution on the Moratorium on the Death Penalty


I speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the member states who have supported the adoption of this resolution, which calls upon states to proclaim and maintain a moratorium on executions as a matter of human rights and respect for human dignity.  I would like to recall that the General Assembly has adopted seven of these resolutions since 2007.

The sponsors and supporters of this resolution are convinced that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty contributes to enhance the respect for human dignity:  Indeed, there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty and any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable.

The resolution confirms the main messages that were present in previous iterations of the text, with a few additions which we believe bring an added-value: a reference to the importance of civil society in the public debate on the death penalty, a reference to the role of the human rights treaty bodies, a mention of the discriminatory application of the death penalty to women, a more precise reference to age assessment for the application of the death penalty and a new paragraph asking that children and families are provided, in advance, with adequate information about a pending execution, its date, time and location, to allow a last visit.

Allow me also to convey our sincere thanks to all participants in the informals for the sometimes tense, but we believe interesting engagement that has characterized the negotiations on the moratorium resolution during the six informal consultations held this year. The question of the death penalty is a very emotional one, which always lead to heated discussions. Under the very able co-chairmanship of Mexico and Switzerland, a broad range of opinions and proposals were put forward, and in the course of those negotiations, we revised the draft text to reflect the proposals put forward, whilst also remaining true to the goals and purposes of the resolution.

We take note of the adoption of an amendment on national sovereignty. We believe that the resolution already states clearly that the question of the death penalty is guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations, including sovereignty, and that this amendment is unnecessary, unbalanced and misplaced in a human rights resolution. We remain open to a continued and open discussion with the sponsors of this amendment ahead of UNGA77.

I thank you.


* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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