Benin and Madagascar have recently joined the cause. Mongolia too. The fight against the death penalty is gradually gaining ground. Our efforts are paying off. However, opposition remains strong. That is why we are now stepping up the fight and have produced new guidelines setting out what the Foreign Service can do to promote abolition of the death penalty.
The electric chair - incompatible with the principles of human treatment.
The fight against the death penalty is one of the priority areas of Norway's human rights policy. Norway opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. Our ultimate aim is global abolition of the death penalty. In our efforts towards achieving this goal, we also work actively to encourage countries to restrict the use of the death penalty.
The death penalty is incompatible with the principles of human dignity and humane treatment. Killing sanctioned by the state has a brutalising and dehumanising effect on any society. There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect, and we know that in a number of cases innocent people have been executed. Such miscarriages of justice are irreversible.
Our anti-death penalty efforts are carried out through intergovernmental and regional organisations as well as directly in individual countries. The new guidelines are primarily intended to provide practical guidance for local anti-death penalty efforts but are also intended as a basis for our work in the UN and in regional forums. The guidelines also have relevance for our human rights dialogues and political discussions with certain countries. To ensure that our efforts are as effective as possible and have maximum impact in the countries concerned, the approach taken must always be adapted to the local circumstances.
The purpose of the guidelines is to help us to systematise and strengthen the efforts of the Foreign Service to promote the abolition of the death penalty, both at the general political level and in individual cases. The guidelines are available in several languages to ensure that they reach a broad audience.