Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-10-22-Speech-3-150"

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"Mr President, may I say by way of an introduction that it is rather odd that every debate of ours on the death penalty should still be marred by a particular lack of frankness. A few months ago we listened with similar discomfort to people speaking in tones of exasperation about Cuba, while on China, with its 3 138 executions in one year, we continue to pick just polite words, which are reduced at times to an embarrassed stammer when Europe is called to speak out on the increasingly frequent, at times almost industrial use of capital punishment in the United States or other so-called liberal democracies that still use the gallows, such as Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and India. I should not like this political bashfulness to be compounded now by a serious omission concerning a commitment that the Presidency of the Council formally adopted before this Parliament on 2 July this year, that is, to put a resolution for a moratorium on capital punishment before the United Nations General Assembly. Let us recall – and let us remind Minister Frattini of this – that this resolution was given as one of the Italian Presidency’s priorities in its foreign policy programme, and we know – as a matter of common sense and also from experience – that a moratorium is the first political step towards the abolition of the death penalty; anything else is just a pipe-dream. The deadline for submitting a text for this resolution is 7 November, but so far there is no sign of the resolution. After many decades of noisy and sometimes sterile debate, it would be irresponsible to have announced such an important political initiative four months ago only to give in to the pressures of those who do not want the United Nations to pronounce against the death penalty. The risk of defeat? I am thinking more of the duty of battle, the duty of the political battle that the European Union must carry on its own shoulders. In conclusion, as the President-in-Office of the Council leaves for China, we also entrust him with the task of reminding that country that, when faced with the value of human life, there can be no political expediency or hierarchy, not even towards China."@en1

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