OSCE/ODIHR director calls on Belarus to impose moratorium on death penalty

Michael Georg Link, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), has called on Belarus to introduce an immediate moratorium on executions as a step towards the complete abolition of the death penalty.

 
Michael Georg Link, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), has called on Belarus to introduce an immediate moratorium on executions as a step towards the complete abolition of the death penalty.



“I am extremely concerned by reports of another execution in Belarus – of Syarhey Ivanow – and by the confirmation of the death sentence against Sergei Khmelevsky [Syarhey Khmyalewski] by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Link says in a statement. “It is clear that by abolishing the death penalty, most OSCE participating States have recognized the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of capital punishment.”

Mr. Link notes that OSCE participating States have committed themselves to keep the issue of the abolition of capital punishment under consideration. This issue was the focus of an international conference on "Death Penalty: Transcending the Divide," which was held in Minsk in March.

“I am convinced that the execution of Syarhey Ivanow goes against the ongoing discussions in Belarus and the growing international trend towards the abolition of a punishment that represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity,” Mr. Link says.

ODIHR annually publishes The Death Penalty in the OSCE Area: Background Paper, providing information on the status of the death penalty across the Organization’s 57 participating States. Since the 2015 edition of the Background Paper, Mongolia has become the 52nd participating State to abolish the death penalty in law. Belarus and the United States are the only OSCE participating States to maintain the death penalty in practice.