Planet Unites in Opposing Death Penalty

Cities Join With Sant’Egidio Community Initiative

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ROME, NOV. 18, 2009 ( On Nov. 30, more than 1,000 cities around the globe will floodlight a monument symbolizing opposition to the death penalty, joining with the Community of Sant’Egidio in their «No Justice Without Life» initiative.

The community recognizes a change in world opinion on the death penalty, highlighted by two U.N. resolutions calling for a universal moratorium on the practice.

A statement from the group called capital punishment a «residue from the past,» and said that like slavery and torture, it should eventually be rejected.

Yet, «the path to the abolition of capital punishment continues to be long and difficult and it needs decisive and long-term action in view of the implementation of the resolution and of the definitive abolition of capital punishment,» the communiqué affirmed.

The World Day of Cities for Life is observed every Nov. 30 in memory of the first abolition of the death penalty by a state (the Grand Duchy of Tuscany), which took place in 1786.

The 2008 celebration saw the participation of 1,000 cities, more than 50 of which were capitals. It thus represented the most widespread international mobilization ever in the movement to halt all capital executions in the world.
Cities are invited to make a visible gesture to its citizens and to the world. The gesture, preferably the illumination of an important monument of the city, is accompanied with adherence to the universal moratorium and a concrete commitment to build awareness about the issue in civil society. The city of Rome, for example, illuminates the Colosseum, Brussels the Atomium, Barcelona the Cathedral Square.

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