The European Union has asked Italy and Germany to prepare a United Nations resolution calling for a worldwide ban on capital punishment. Foreign minister Massimo D’Alema said the decision by the EU was ‘unanimous’ and was ‘a European success for which Italy had been the driving force’.
Italy has long fought the death penalty. Since 1994, the country has been actively lobbying other European governments to push forward a UN resolution that would bring a global end to capital punishment. D’Alema hopes to gather enough support to present the proposal at the current UN session.
The decision by EU foreign ministers came less than three weeks after leading human rights’ group, Amnesty International, asked Italy to head a campaign for a worldwide ban on punishment by death. In April of this year, Amnesty International secretary general Irene Khan requested that Italy adopt a ‘global strategy’ to unite the states against capital punishment and isolate those remaining in favor. ‘An international coalition for change is required, a group of champions, that’s the challenge,’ said Khan.