Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on World Day Against the Death Penalty


October 10, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada opposes the death penalty in all cases, everywhere. It is a form of punishment that is incompatible with human rights and human dignity. Canada’s history clearly shows that the death penalty is inefficient as a deterrent. It can lead to irreversible miscarriages of justice against those whose innocence is proven after they have been put to death. No justice system is immune from error.

“In Canada, no state-sanctioned executions have occurred since 1962, and the death penalty was officially removed from the Canadian Criminal Code in 1976 and the National Defence Act in 1998. As a fully abolitionist country, Canada urges the 57 retentionist countries to abolish the death penalty or at the very least to impose a moratorium on executions. Failing that, we call on them to respect international safeguards and standards, including respect for due process and fair trials.

“Over the past two years, our government has vocally opposed the death penalty. In February 2016, we reinstated the policy of seeking clemency for every Canadian facing the death penalty abroad. And for the first time, Canada co-sponsored the United Nations General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and the Human Rights Council resolution on the question of the death penalty. Last month, we also joined the Global Alliance to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture. We will work with other members of the alliance to end the use, production, trade, export and import of goods that exist for no other reason than to end a human life or to submit another human being to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“Today, on World Day Against the Death Penalty, we join the international community to call for the full abolition of the death penalty, everywhere.”     


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