Topic: 2023-Use of the Death Penalty
Delegate Name: Allison Bennett
Williamston High School
The Kingdom of Belgium
Human Rights Council
Use of the Death Penalty
Capital Punishment refers to the process of sentencing convicted offenders to death for capital crimes and carrying out that sentence. The use of capital punishment has been a very long debate between nations as well as within individual nations. While two-thirds of nations have either abolished the death penalty in practice, or in law, about one-third of nations across the globe actively use the death penalty. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, or OHCHR, states that the use of the death penalty “is not consistent with the right to life and the right to live free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The death penalty is still used in a small number of countries due to the belief that it deters crime. Multiple states still also permit the use of the death penalty for crimes other than those of extreme gravity involving intentional killing, including for drug-related crimes or terrorism charges.
The Kingdom of Belgium ultimately aims to achieve a world where there is no death penalty, both in times of war and peace, because the Belgian government believes the death penalty is a serious violation of human rights and dignity. The fight against the death penalty is a priority of the Belgian human rights policy for multiple reasons. These reasons include the chance that a court sentences an innocent person to death can not be excluded, and it has been demonstrated that the death penalty does not have a deterrent effect on crime. The last execution in the time of peace in The Kingdom of Belgium was in 1863. The abolition of the death penalty has been embedded in the law since 1996, which is reflected in the constitution, and applies to all crimes committed in all situations, including in times of war.
The Kingdom of Belgium supports the European Union, which firmly positions itself as an enemy of the death penalty, although the Belgian government goes one step further in the fight. The Kingdom of Belgium is a member of a number of international coalitions that defend the abolition of the death penalty, one being the International Commission against the Death Penalty. The Kingdom of Belgium regularly puts forward resolutions relating to the death penalty in the United Nations Human Rights Council, or HRC. In 2013 The Kingdom of Belgium put forth a resolution that focuses on the human rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed. Most recently in 2021, Belgium put forward a resolution focused on the theme of transparency. The Kingdom of Belgium also supports General Assembly Resolutions that regard a moratorium on the death penalty. In 2019, the Kingdom of Belgium organized the 7th World Congress against the Death Penalty.
Death Penalty | OHCHR – UN Human Rights Office, www.ohchr.org/en/topic/death-penalty.
“Capital Punishment.” Bureau of Justice Statistics, bjs.ojp.gov/topics/corrections/capital-punishment.
“Belgium Wants a World without the Death Penalty.” FPS Foreign Affairs – Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, 20 Oct. 2022, diplomatie.belgium.be/en/policy/policy-areas/highlighted/belgium-wants-world-without-death-penalty.
Poole, Gregory. “Home.” GLICA.Org, GLICA.org, 11 Sept. 2023, glica.org/glica-conferences/glimun-2023-conference/glimun-2023-committees/use-of-the-death-penalty/.