Statements of the Holy See Delegation
On Draft resolution A/C.3/62/L.29
entitled “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”
62nd session of the UN General Assembly
Before the Third Committee, on item 70 (b):
Promotion and protection of human rights
New York, 15 November 2007
the approval of the Resolution
The Holy See thanks the many delegations who have worked so assiduously to bring
this draft resolution, Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, to the floor
of the Third Committee, under the agenda item 70 (b) entitled promotion and
protection of human rights. My delegation believes that despite its complexity,
this issue rightly belongs here for our consideration. Indeed, the right to life
is the most fundamental of all human rights. While we understand and respect
other deeply held positions on this matter, based on arguments such as national
sovereignty, legitimate defense and respect for national or regional
independence, we welcome this draft resolution as another indication of a
growing public opposition to the death penalty.
In our view,
death penalty should occur only when its use is necessary to protect society
against an aggressor. We believe that today's society has many other ways of
protecting its citizens, thus the need to resort to such an ultimate penalty has
become not only rare, but practically non-existent. It totally excludes all
possibilities of recourse and of restoration in the event of a miscarriage of
justice. Moreover, all too often it is the poor and members of religious, ethnic
and racial minorities who bear the results of this cruel and unnecessary
resolution asks States to exercise true courage in saying "no" to killing of any
kind, and to use bloodless methods of deterrence and punishment, as they better
correspond with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in
conformity with the dignity and worth of every human person.
The right to life and respect for human dignity remains an inalienable right of
every person and a founding principle of this Organization. It is therefore the
duty of States to promote and protect this right from conception until natural
death. To that end, we must work consistently to reverse the culture of death
embraced by some social and legal structures which justify certain forms of
destruction of life as a legal necessity or a medical service.
welcoming the adoption of this draft resolution, the Holy See once again calls
on all States to take a consistent view on the right to life, in a way that
their support for this important draft resolution would equally mean their
support for the protection of the life of the unborn.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Statement at the debate on the amendments
In light of these
amendments, the Holy See reaffirms our call to all States to take a consistent
view on the right to life. These discussions demonstrate some of the problems
which occur when that consistent approach to protecting the right to life at all
stages is absent.
unequal application, the interpretation of the "parameters" of the right to
life, at life's various stages, reduces this fundamental right to a mere tool
for political disagreements at the very expense of life itself.
sees protecting the right to life, in all life's stages, as a duty of
responsible governance and therefore calls on all States in these
considerations, to adopt that consistent view. By taking this approach, we
believe that we would be better able to focus our efforts on improving our
collective and individual efforts to protect all human life rather than debating
whose life truly has dignity and worth.
Thank you, Mr.