Biennial high-level panel discussion on death penalty

JOINT STATEMENT by Finland on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Norway, 1 March 2017

Mr. President,

I am honoured to deliver this intervention on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States: Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.  We welcome today’s pertinent discussion on the question of the death penalty and thank the esteemed speakers for their interventions.

The Nordic and Baltic States strongly oppose the death penalty in all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life.  We consider the death penalty to be a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

As numerous studies have confirmed, the death penalty fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavior. We should also keep in mind that any possible miscarriage of justice, which is inevitable in any legal system - mistakes do happen – is irreversible.

For the abovementioned reasons the Nordic and Baltic States will continue to work for the global abolition of the death penalty. We urge those States still upholding the death penalty to consider establishing a moratorium with a view to abolition.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has argued that international law can no longer be considered “retentionist”, but requires the progressive abolition of the death penalty.

We would like to ask the distinguished panelists about their assessment of international and regional developments in this regard. In the panelists view, what are the key messages that should be delivered to those authorities with decision-making power to support abolition of the death penalty?

Thank you.