In 2001, ECPM organised the first World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Paris. Since then, World Congresses have followed a three-year cycle. In 2012, the first Regional Congress was held in Rabat. From that time on, a Regional Congress precedes by one year each World Congress, thus focusing attention on a region of the globe.
In 2001, ECPM organised the 1st World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Strasbourg. The aim? To bring together abolitionist actors from across the world. The event also resulted in the creation of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. 15 years later, the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty was organised in Oslo, welcoming an ever increasing number of participants from civil society, the judicial world and the highest political spheres.
This latest global meeting about abolition therefore brought together approximately 1,500 people from more than 120 countries. A number of important figures came for the occasion, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 18 members of governments, 30 parliamentarians and ECPM’s Honorary President and former French Minister of Justice, Robert Badinter.
Focusing on Asia and the work of lawyers, this Congress was an opportunity to look more closely at a number of issues surrounding the death penalty across the world. On the agenda were terrorism, new strategies to be adopted and the involvement of national human rights institutions in combating capital punishment.
The 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty was co-organised by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Moreover, some of the countries making up the Core Group monitored specific areas of organisation of the Congress and the event itself.
Although uniting abolitionists is a key task, it is nonetheless essential to ensure a presence in the field in those countries which still use the death penalty. Since 2012, ECPM has therefore organised regional congresses on the death penalty in strategic areas (Morocco for the MENA region in 2012, Malaysia for Asia in 2015).
These events specifically aim to help abolitionists from the same region meet one another so that new strategies closely related to the local context can be drawn up. By organising regional congresses, ECPM also ensures, for a few days at least, that the debate on capital punishment is heard in those places where it still strikes.