Ratification campaigns for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty
The German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty participates in the ratification campaigns regularly conducted by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP). As part of these campaigns, selected states or their governments are asked to sign regional and international conventions in which they legally commit themselves to abolishing the death penalty. At the international level, this includes the so-called Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN Civil Covenant) on the abolition of the death penalty.
The status of the “Second Optional Protocol” to the UN Civil Covenant on the abolition of the death penalty
The Second Optional Protocol has special significance in that it is the only universally existing instrument to abolish the death penalty in the form of an international convention to date.
By ratifying it, the governments concerned undertake not only to guarantee the fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined by the United Nations in the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, such as freedom of thought, conscience and religion, but also specifically to take all “necessary measures to abolish the death penalty in their territories” (cf. Second Optional Protocol, Article 1, paragraph 2). The only exceptional circumstances that continue to permit the use of the death penalty under this Optional Protocol are serious crimes committed in wartime.
The obligation to abide by the norms and standards established internationally by the United Nations is also intended, in particular, to protect against the possible reintroduction of the death penalty in the event of a change of government.
States that have already ratified the Second Optional Protocol
85 of the 172 states worldwide that have signed the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have now ratified the Second Optional Protocol. Angola, Palestine, Gambia and Madagascar have also recently signed.
For more information on the Second Optional Protocol, please visit the official website of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.