Minister for Foreign Affairs marks World and European Day against the Death Penalty
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin TD, marks World and European Day against the Death Penalty, 10 October 2009
Today, Saturday 10 October, is the “Seventh World and European Day against the Death Penalty”. To mark this occasion, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin TD, reaffirms Ireland’s strong and long-standing policy of opposing the use of the death penalty, which he regards as a violation of the most basic and inalienable human rights.
The Minister said:
“I strongly support efforts towards the universal abolition of the death penalty. Ireland has been to the forefront of efforts with EU partners and in multilateral fora to promote this objective. As a first step, I renew the call for a moratorium on executions in all States still using the death penalty, in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 18 December 2008 on the moratorium on executions which Ireland co-sponsored.
The Irish people’s abhorrence for the death penalty was clear in the outcome of the Constitutional referendum in 2001, when we took an important step to abolish fully and formally the use of the death penalty. This referendum outcome gave legal force to a moratorium which had existed in Ireland for almost 50 years. Indeed, we are one of the few countries in the world where the electorate has voted to insert an article into our Constitution explicitly forbidding use of the death penalty.
The Irish Government will continue to support efforts to promote the world-wide abolition of the death penalty. We support the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, which set out a number of minimum standards which we consider should be met, including that capital punishment should not be imposed on persons under 18 years of age at the time the offence was committed. Ireland is concerned about capital punishment cases which do not meet the highest standards of justice and by the fact that in a few countries minors are still being sentenced to death and executed, in clear violation of those countries’ international obligations.”
The Minister has been encouraged by a number of positive developments in recent times as more and more States are moving towards abolition. Resolutions and statements against the death penalty at the United Nations have also seen increasing support in recent years.
The Minister added:
“The death penalty is irreversible and irreparable in nature. Even today, no country or legal system is immune to miscarriages of justice.
On this World Day against the Death Penalty, I believe the efforts to abolish the death penalty must continue and I call on all countries which still retain it to embrace the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.”
10th October 2009