By World Coalition against the Death Penalty

We, The participants of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, organized in Brussels from February 26 to March 1st, 2019, by the organization Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) under the sponsorship of Belgium, the European Union, European Parliament, Swiss Confederation and Norway, in partnership with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, hereby: adopt the present declaration following four days of intense debates, exchanges of experiences, testimonies, cultural events;

We welcome the abolitionist movement's expansion in a world where more than 2/3 of countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and where 121 countries, the highest number ever, voted in favor of the UNGA moratorium resolution in December 2018; the abolition of the death penalty in 3 countries since the Oslo World Congress in 2016: abolition for ordinary crimes in Burkina Faso and Guatemala and abolition for all crimes in Guinea, as well as the decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington in the USA, that found the death penalty unconstitutional; the revision of catechism of the Catholic Church stating that the death penalty is ‘inadmissible’; the commitments taken during the opening ceremony of the 7th Congress by the Gambia to abolish the death penalty in its constitution, by the Republic of the Congo and Guinea to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and to support the draft Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights for abolition, by Burkina Faso to extend the abolition of the death penalty from ordinary crimes to all crimes, and by Morocco to reform the penal code to reduce the number of crimes punishable by death;

However, we are concerned that the retention of the death penalty is used as a pretext by some governments such as Egypt, where 9 people were executed on 20 February, to counter-terrorism and mute dissenting voices; that 56 countries and territories are retentionists, such as China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the USA and that in many cases the death penalty is applied arbitrarily; that retentionist countries continue to sentence to death and execute juveniles, such as Iran, and people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, including Japan and Taiwan; that it is applied in a way that disproportionately impacts people from ethnic, racial, or religious minorities or from disadvantaged socio-economic background, or on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender-based discrimination; that conditions on death row violate human dignity and are a cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.