HRC 46th Session - Biennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty

Human Rights Council 46th session Geneva, 23 February 2021

Biennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty

Theme: the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to whether the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime rate


Madame President,

I am honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic States.

We thank the panellists for their presentations. We reiterate our firm and principled opposition to the death penalty at all times, under any circumstances.

The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman, degrading, and irrevocable punishment that violates the inalienable right to life. To avoid irreversible miscarriages of justice and arbitrary killing, the death penalty must never be applied. Evidence from around the world shows that the death penalty does not have a deterrent effect on crime.

We welcome the trend towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.
However, death sentences continue to be imposed in violation of international law and standards, including the right to a fair trial and the principle of non-discrimination. All persons are entitled to the equal protection of the law without discrimination.

Executions of child offenders grossly violate human rights law. Numerous United Nations bodies and experts have made it clear time and time again that the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by persons below the age of 18 at the time of the offence is strictly prohibited under international human rights law.

We call upon those states that have not yet abolished the death penalty to join the international trend towards its global abolition, in law and practice.

We would like to ask the panel what measures that are needed to better inform states about the non-deterrent effect of the death penalty?

Thank you.