Introductory Remarks by the EU Ambassador to PNG, H.E. Jernej Videtic
Distinguished panellists, distinguished audience, ladies and gentlemen,
• First, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Australian High Commission and the University of Papua New Guinea for jointly supporting this event, and to our distinguished panellist for kindly accepting to be part of it. I am also grateful to the large audience of concerned PNG citizens, particularly the young educated people who represent the future of this beautiful country.
• The EU recognise the importance of a fully informed public debate about the death penalty, as the more people know about the arguments against death penalty, the more they agree with abolition.
• The European Union firmly oppose the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to the right to life. The death penalty means revenge, not justice, and its abolition would contribute to the enhancement of human dignity. The death penalty is no better a deterrent to crime than other punishments, and that it does not contribute to public safety.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
• At international level, we are at a turning point in the debate against the death penalty with 74% of the UN member states having already stopped using the death penalty, by either abolishing it or not carrying out executions for a long time, as it is the case in PNG.
• Indeed, we welcome the fact that no death sentence has been carried in PNG since 1954 and we are strongly advocating for a move from the current de facto moratorium to abolition.
• At the same time, we respect the fact that any change in the PNG Constitution should be decided by the Parliament. In this context, the PNG Government intention to conduct a Nationwide Consultation on the topic could be a major step into the right direction and I hope that the event today will contribute to this.
Let’s work together for a “Death Penalty Free” Pacific Region ! Thank you!