3 Million Signatures for Death-Penalty Moratorium Sant´Egidio to Present Them to U.N. Secretary-General

NEW YORK, DEC. 15, 2000 (ZENIT.org).-

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On Monday the Community of Sant´Egidio will give U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan petitions with 3 million signatures from 145 countries, in support of a universal moratorium on the death penalty.

Sant´Egidio ( http://www.santegidio.org ) has promoted the initiative over the past two years, in response to John Paul II´s appeal in favor of this moratorium, whose objective is respect for the inalienable dignity of human life.

The community, a Catholic lay movement established in Rome in 1968 by historian Andrea Riccardi, is active in about 40 countries. It carries out evangelization, helps the poor, and promotes ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and peace plans.

The idea of collecting the signatures was supported by Amnesty International and the U.S.´ M2000, founded by Sister Helen Prejean, author of «Dead Man Walking,» which has been turned into a film.

Religious leaders worldwide supported the initiative. Among the signatories are the Dalai Lama; Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid; Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Jubilee Year committee; Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Archbishop George Carey, president of the Anglican Communion; and Frances Alguire, president of the World Methodist Council.

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