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The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

19 April 2016, New York – European Union Explanation of Position on the Resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly (A/S-30/L.1) at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem: “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem”

Mr. President,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States and the following countries, which align themselves with this statement:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Canada,, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan

to speak on the issue of the death penalty in relation to the adoption of resolution A/S-30/L.1.

We deeply regret that the outcome document does not include language on the death penalty. We have a strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and consider that the death penalty undermines human dignity and errors made in its application are irreversible. Moreover, imposing the death penalty for drug offences is against norms of international law, specifically Art. 6 Para 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The unprecedented support generated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which was adopted in December 2014 signalled that there is an international momentum behind efforts to limit the application of the death penalty, including in terms of the number of offences for which it is imposed. We urge all States that have not done so to implement a moratorium on the use of death penalty as a step towards its final abolition. Furthermore, we welcome the decision of the International Narcotics Control Board to call on countries still applying the death penalty to consider its abolition for drug-related offences, and the statement from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that the use of the death penalty has never been in the letter or the spirit of the drug control conventions.

We also encourage Member States to adopt safeguards to prevent criminal justice or other forms of international assistance resulting in a death sentence being applied, and to hold international agencies to account for compliance with this and all other human rights obligations.

  • Ref: EUUN16-051EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: General Assembly - Plenary
  • Date: 19/04/2016

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