The abolition of the death penalty, a universal dynamic

The universal advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty is on the move. Today, more than two-thirds of the world's states have waived the execution of the death sentence and are de jure or de facto abolitionists. 98 countries have renounced the penalty for all crimes, while only 16 had abandoned it forty years ago.

The worldwide trend towards abolition of the death penalty has accelerated in the last decade, thanks to the emergence and consolidation of a dynamic global abolitionist movement which has associated and coordinated efforts by governments, international organizations and civil society, towards achieving the ultimate goal, that of living in a world free from the death penalty.

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), represented by 155 associations, is working to bring all countries which have not yet abolished the death penalty to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty (OP2), and to adopt criminal laws free from death penalty, or in line with international standards on the death penalty. The Coalition I working for the encouragement of governments to support UN General Assembly resolutions on the establishment of a universal moratorium on executions. A new vote is scheduled for December 2014.

This universal movement for the abolition of the death penalty is also demonstrated by the organisation, since 2000, of regional and international congresses against the death penalty, under the aegis of “Together against the death penalty”, the “World Day against the Death Penalty” on 10 October at the initiative of the World Coalition, and the annual event "Cities for Life" organized by Sant'Egidio on November 30.

However, despite progress, many challenges remain.

In Morocco, the abolitionist dynamics has gradually advanced through the existence of structured networks gathered in the Moroccan Coalition against the Death Penalty (CMCPM), and parliamentarians and lawyers networks against death penalty recently formed. This dynamic is strongly supported by the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) whose abolitionist’s opinion is solemnly expressed.

This movement continues to advocate for the ratification of OP2 by the government, reform the criminal legislation for abolition and institutionalization of the facto moratorium on executions and by supporting the UN efforts for the establishment of a universal moratorium on executions.

The holding of the Second Global Forum on Human Rights is a new opportunity, for abolitionists at global, regional and national level, to coordinate their efforts, inform the public debate, develop common strategies, strengthen the capacity of actors, exchange best practices, and initiate demands to finally achieve abolition.

In parallel, the Steering Committee of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty will held a meeting and a North African Coalition against the Death Penalty will be officially launched.