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Historical XXII Government - Portuguese Republic Back to Government in Office


2020-10-10 at 17h26

World and European Day against the Death Penalty

(Statement of the Minister of State and for Foreign Affairs on the World and European Day against the Death Penalty)

Portugal is a Republic "based on the dignity of the human person", in which "the human life is inviolable" and "in no case will there be death penalty".

It was in this concise way that the Members of the Constituent Assembly abolished, without exception, the death penalty in Portugal, registering our Constitution in a long humanist tradition, which rejects the use of torture and death in the justice systems. It was by this means honoured the pioneering example of the Charter of Law, that, in 1867, had abolished the capital punishment for civil crimes, and guaranteed the strongest protection of the human right to life, later consecrated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Over the past decades, there has been a global trend towards abolishing the death penalty. However, there are still quite a few countries that apply this practice, and the progress registered in this area is reversible.

Thus, on this World and European Day against the Death Penalty, the Portuguese Government reaffirms its opposition to the application of this cruel punishment anywhere and in any circumstances, and makes the commitment to continue to strive, in all international fora, for the universal and definitive abolition of the capital punishment.

On the United Nations General Assembly, Portugal has been one of the strongest advocates for a resolution to establish a moratorium on the death penalty.  We are very pleased with the growing number of support that this resolution has been receiving, from all regions and continents, and we hope that, in the year of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the resolution that will be presented this fall deserves an even more significant adhesion.

On this date, the Portuguese Government again encourages all States, which have not yet done so, to establish a de facto moratorium as the first step towards abolishing completely the death penalty and to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,  in order to abolish the Death Penalty.