COPENHAGEN, 9 July 2020 – Responding to reports that executions are set to resume on the federal level in the United States for the first time since 2003, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee renewed calls for universal abolition of the death penalty. Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus), Michael Link (Germany), and Kari Henriksen (Norway), the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, regretted the decision and urged the U.S. government to reconsider.
“At a time when many individual U.S. states are moving away from capital punishment, with more than two-thirds having either abolished the death penalty or with effective moratoriums in place, it is troubling to now see that the Federal Government is resuming executions after nearly two decades,” Hadjiyianni, Link and Henriksen said today in a joint statement. “The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly called upon the two countries in the OSCE area that retain capital punishment – the United States and Belarus – to implement moratoriums and to develop legislative initiatives leading to the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes. We reiterate those calls today and urge once again the complete abolition of the death penalty in the OSCE area.”
The inmates whose executions are scheduled for July and August were all convicted of murder. The United States Justice Department has made clear that these first four inmates have been chosen for execution due to the fact that their cases involved the murder of children. More than 60 federal prisoners are awaiting execution.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 323 parliamentarians from 57 countries spanning Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international co-operation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.