02 December 2015, The Tablet

Global cities light up at night to highlight the campaign to end the death penalty

The Colosseum in Rome and thousands of monuments around the world were illuminated at dusk on Monday as symbols of the campaign to stop the death penalty.  

Cities for Life Day is held each year on the 30 November to commemorate the first abolition of the death penalty by a European state, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1786.

This year, 2,031 cities expressed their support for the anti-capital punishment initiative and nearly 400 events were held worldwide.

In the UK, events were held in London, Sheffield and Swansea.

Rome’s Colosseum, the epicentre of the Roman civilisations mass execution culture, was the first monument to be lit. The event’s organisers, the Community of Sant’Egidio, in Nebraska were present.  

Nebraska ended the use of the death penalty in May, becoming the 19th US state to abolish capital punishment. However, state residents gathered enough signatures to temporarily reinstate the death penalty until it can be voted on in a referendum in November 2016.



Australian bishops pledge support for Australia death penalty campaign

Hillary Clinton comes out in favour of the death penalty

Religious leaders rail against use of Bible in death sentencing

Arkansas fails in bid to overturn stays of execution


Although capital punishment has been prohibited in Australia since 2001, Australian bishops have been renewing their call for a worldwide ban on the death penalty. Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference recently wrote to the federal parliament offering assistance in achieving a global reprieve.

In mid-November, Indonesia declared a temporary ban on the death penalty, saying the suspension would help the country focus on fixing the nation's economy.

Indonesian bishops called on the country's president to reconsider the use of capital punishment, calling it an inhuman form of punishment that was not effective in deterring crime.

The death penalty is still on the statute books of 90 out of 196 nation states around the world, but only 23 carried out executions last year. China still carries out the most executions, with 300 last year.

The US carried out 35 executions last year, mainly by lethal injection: only China, Iran,Iraq and  Saudi Arabia carried out more in 2014.



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