It is an honour to preside the International Commission against the Death Penalty which was established on 7 October 2010 from an initiative of the Spanish Government.
The death penalty violates the right to life, which happens to be the most fundamental right of all human rights. It is also contrary to the right of not to be subjected to any cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.
It also needs to be realized that the death penalty does not make the world a safer place. There exists no conclusive evidence that it deters crime more effectively than other punishments. The most worrying fact about the death penalty, however, is the possibility of executing an innocent person. No matter how developed a justice system might be, it will always remain susceptible to human failure and, therefore, it runs the risk of committing irrevocable and irreparable damage.
It is true that there is a strong and continuing trend towards the abolition in all regions of the world. Unfortunately, it is also true that thousands of people are still executed every year. This is why all efforts aiming at the establishment of a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view to its total abolition, must be joined. I am convinced that the International Commission against the Death Penalty is able to contribute an important share to this noble cause. Its cross-regional composition and the international prestige of its members are of great value when it comes to stand in for the worldwide abolition in an independent and neutral manner.
I strongly believe that one day humanity will witness the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. And considering all the wonderful work that is being done by myriads of actors, that day might even be closer than we think.