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“We call the Youth from the region to be part of the worldwide abolitionist movement for a better world”

At the end of two days of intense discussion and debates, the 4th Regional Congress on the Death Penalty culminated in the collective drafting of a final declaration welcoming the region's progress, acknowledging initiatives to abolish the death penalty, recalling the fundamental principles of respect for human rights and calling on the authorities of Middle Eastern countries to assume their responsibilities.
Omad Abbad from the Crescendo Music and Art Academy playing Oud during the Closing session

This declaration is the result of a sharing of expertise and testimonies and aims at guiding abolitionist actors to build their advocacy around shared interests and invite young people in the region to mobilise for the abolition of the death penalty in their countries.

The first day of debates had brought together over 180 people and a total of over 200 delegates took part in this unprecedented event in Amman. Laying the context of the fight against the death penalty in the region and clearly establishing the obstacles and issues at stake on the first day enabled to broaden the subject to 3 major themes addressed during the plenary sessions on the second day. How is justice administered by Middle Eastern governments? What impact does the death penalty have on the population? What tools and media should be used to raise awareness?

Roundtable “Administration of Justice” (Photo: Rajiv Raman)

Judges, activists and witnesses such as Antoinette Chahine, formerly sentenced to death in Lebanon, shared their experiences and recommendations. Layth Abdulamir, director of the documentary The Executioner’s Tear, was also present to underline the importance of documenting the struggle to counterbalance the lack of transparency and instrumentalization of capital punishment. After witnessing the execution of four prisoners when he was a child, he now describes as “barbaric” this punishment, which he could not put into words at the time, and reminds us that waiting for death itself already constitutes torture.

Three workshops then rounded off the second day, enabling delegates to focus on the obstacles to the abolition of the death penalty in conflict and post-conflict situations, documentation strategies or drawing attention to the use of the death penalty during the Universal Periodic Review of Middle Eastern countries.

Nadine Moubarak, activist from the Abolition Now Tour Lebanon and academic board member (Photo: Rajiv Raman)

Nadine Moubarak, activist from the Abolition Now Tour Lebanon and academic board member, opened the closing session with a powerful speech that conveyed a message of peace in tribute to Walid Slaiby, a non-violence activist who died earlier this year: “Resist violence with non-violence, and death penalty with life”.

Volunteers of the 4th Regional Congress on the Death Penalty with ECPM staff members

ECPM and its partners are delighted with this meeting, which was received with great enthusiasm and respect in the Jordanian capital, and would like to thank once again all the delegates, volunteers and guests for their commitment and fruitful discussions. Click here to see more pictures of the event!

July 2023
Here we are: over 180 participants from 15 countries came to the Jordanian capital on…