26 February: see the programme of the day

Descriptions of the day’s events can be found under the timetable table.
Find information on how to get to the Congress venues on the Useful Information page.

26 February : See the timetable

2pm – 5pm

Egmont Palace, Orange room

General Assembly

Organised by : World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
English and French

Statutory meeting and elections of the Steering Committee, open to all member organisations of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

10am – 12pm

Egmont Palace, Europe room

Pakistan: how to get back on the road to abolition

Organised by : FIDH

FIDH, in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), undertook a research mission to Pakistan in late November 2018 on the death penalty. The side event will present the findings of the mission, highlighting the specific theme of the impact of capital punishment on minors in Pakistan, and proposing concrete solutions to get Pakistan back on the road to abolition.

Speakers: Florence Bellivier, FIDH Deputy Secretary General (moderator); Juliette Rousselot, South Asia Program Officer, FIDH; Kamran Arif, Senior Advocate, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP); Yumna Rizvi, Senior Advocacy Officer, Justice Project Pakistan ; Maleeka Bukhari, Member of the National Assembly & Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Pakistan

10am – 11pm

Egmont Palace, Arenberg room

Life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty

Organised by : Penal Reform International (PRI)

Between the years 2000 and 2014, there was an increase of almost 84% in the number of those serving formal life sentences worldwide. A global trend towards the universal abolition has resulted in many states adopting life imprisonment as their ultimate sanction. This event will share practices from the ground and discuss implications at the international level. We will also look at how we can unite to better tackle life imprisonment.

Speakers: Dr Catherine Appleton, University of Nottingham, co-authors of Life Imprisonment: A Global Human Rights Analysis (2019); Former Judge Ann Power-Forde, European Court of Human Rights; Abd Al-Rahim Al-Jami, Coordinator of the Moroccan Coalition against the Death Penalty, Board member of the Observatory for Prisons; Doreen Namyalo Kyazze, Africa Programme Manager, Penal Reform International; Taghreed Jaber, Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Penal Reform International (moderator)

10am – 12pm

Egmont Palace, Blue room

Engaging China on the death penalty: challenges and opportunities

Organised by : The Rights Practice
English and Chinese

The panel will discuss the situation in China and reflect on challenging the death penalty in a highly authoritarian environment.

Speakers: Nicola Macbean (The Rights Practice), Chinese lawyers and civil society

11.30am – 1.30pm

Egmont Palace, Arenberg room

Online security: an introduction

Organised by : Amnesty International, Amnesty International Belgium
English and French

This event aims at providing a short introduction to understanding and strengthening the security of our work and communications, to enhance our safety and those of others we work with. Amnesty International experts on Technology and Human Rights will be present at this event and throughout the World Congress to provide one-to-one guidance on how to make our online work safer.

Speaker: Sadibou Sow, Technologist advisor, Amnesty Tech

12pm – 1.30pm

Egmont Palace, Blue room

Children of parents sentenced to death or executed: protecting their rights and limiting the use of the death penalty

Organised by : Quaker United Nations Office
English (and French TBC)

This event will launch new authoritative legal analysis on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed and look ahead to the 2019 World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Speakers: Laurel Townhead (moderator – Representative, Quaker United Nations Office), Professor Stephanie Farrior, Centre for Applied Human Rights, Vermont Law School (report author), discussants (TBC)

2pm – 4pm

Egmont Palace, Europe room

International Launch of the Anti-Death Penalty Clinic: assessing the Abolitionist Movement in Asia

Organised by : Reprieve Australia, ADPAN, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Monash University
English and French

The death penalty is precariously positioned in Asia. We have recently seen that Malaysia is leading the way towards abolition whilst other countries in the region remain amongst the highest executing in the world. This event will constitute the International Launch of the region’s first Anti-Death Penalty Clinic: a regional hub for policy, research, advocacy and case-work devoted to the abolition of the death penalty in Asia.

Speakers: Ngeow Chow Ying, ADPAN (Executive Committee); Julian McMahon AC SC, Reprieve Australia (President); Professor Bryan Horrigan, Monash University (Dean, Faculty of Law)

2pm – 4pm

Egmont Palace, Arenberg room

Bar Associations and the fight against death penalty

Organised by : Paris Bar and International Association of Lawyers
French and English

In both abolitionist and retentionist countries, many bar associations and professional associations of lawyers have become full players in the abolitionist world. What role do their efforts and actions play in the abolitionist fight in 2019? What specific and unique challenges do they face? What perspectives can they offer?

Speakers: representatives of bar associations engaged in the struggle against death penalty / Lawyers working on death penalty cases.

2pm – 4pm

Egmont Palace, Blue room

Assisting death row prisoners and monitoring conditions of detention

Organised by : Moroccan Prison Observatory (OMP), Moroccan Coalition against the death penalty, Tunisian Coalition against the death penalty, ECPM
French (and English to be confirmed)

Following the 2018 World Day on conditions of detention, this workshop will be a good opportunity to share good practices on:

  • Legal assistance to improve conditions of detention of death row prisoners;
  • Conditions of detention monitoring through annual reports publication;
  • Follow-up and treatment of prisoners’ grievances.

Speakers: the workshop will be conducted by speakers from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and France.

2pm – 4pm

Egmont Palace, Library

How States abolish death penalty: experiences and lessons learnt

Organised by : International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDP)

The side-event will feature ICDP Commissioners speaking about their experiences and analysis of the different routes adopted by States as they abolished the death penalty. Through their presentations and subsequent discussions, the speakers will highlight the progress made, as witnessed by the increase in the number of countries that have abolished capital punishment. They will also throw light on the situation of the death penalty today and the challenges ahead.

Speakers: Judge Navi Pillay, ICDP President and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ruth Dreifuss, ICDP Vice President and former Swiss President; Ts. Elberdorj, former Mongolian President; Ibrahim Najjar, ICDP Vice President and former Minister of Justice of Lebanon; Professor Ivan Simonovic, former UN Assistant Secretary General, former Minister of Justice from Croatia; Professor Marc Baron Bossuyt, former Head of the Constitutional Court of Belgium and author of the Second Optional Protocol of ICCPR; Hanne Sophie Greve, former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights and Vice President of the Gulating High Court for Western Norway; Asunta Vivó, ICDP Executive Director; Dr Rajiv Narayan, ICDP Director of Policy (moderator)

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Egmont Palace, Europe room

Strategic litigation to challenge barriers to effective legal representation

Organised by : Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide

This side-event encourages capital defense lawyers to join a discussion on strategies, including impact litigation, to secure appropriate funding for legal representation of their clients. Participants will also discuss the duty of lawyers to challenge the state’s failure to provide adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense and conduct a thorough mitigation investigation. This session will further provide a space for lawyers to share their experiences and lessons learned, and will explore potential cross-border collaborations.

Speakers: Sandra Babcock, Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide; Sarah Belal, Justice Project Pakistan; Ricky Gunawan, LBH Masyarakat; Maitreyi Misra, Project 39A, National Law University, Delhi; Angela Uwandu, Avocats Sans Frontières France

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Egmont Palace, Arenberg room

The death penalty for drug offences: between abolition and populism

Organised by : Harm Reduction International, Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (Indonesia)

This event will focus on the death penalty for drug offences, presenting the latest data and critically assessing the latest trends, with a focus on recent domestic reforms and their impact.  The event will be the opportunity to launch Harm Reduction International latest report “2018 Global overview: The Death Penalty for Drug Offences.”

Speakers: Roya Boroumand, Executive Director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre; Adriano Martins, Human Rights Division, European External Action Service (EU); Giada Girelli, Human Rights Analyst (Harm Reduction International); Sustira Dirga, Researcher (Institute for Criminal Justice Reform); Nicola Macbean, Director of The Rights Practice (moderator)

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Egmont Palace, Blue room

Beyond Mandela Rules

Organised by : Planète Réfugiés-Droits de l’Homme
French and English

Roundtable discussion on the existing international standards pertaining et detention and identification of the legal loopholes within those standards, specifically regarding detention and treatment of people on death row.

Speakers: Nordine Drici, Chairman of Planète Réfugiés-Droits de l’Homme (PRCH) and Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, ECPM Board Member.

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Egmont Palace, Library

Portraying Cruelty around the world

Organised by : REPECAP/Academics for abolition

Presentation of recent works:

  • Who deserve to die?, Sofia Moro (photo-journalist)
  • Drugs and Death penalty in Asia a constant upheaval, Antonio Muñoz Aunión (REPECAP / Isabel University)
  • Advocating for abolition, Parvais Jabbar & Saul Lehrfreund (The Death penalty Project)
  • Pope Francis against the passion of cruelty, Luis Arroyo Zapatero (Professor of Criminal Law, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha and Director of Academicsforabolition)
  • Cornering Executioners, William Schabas (Professor of International Law, Middlesex University London)


Les Tanneurs Theater

Representation of Suzy & Franck by Didier Poiteaux

Inti Théâtre

Suzy lives in Paris and Frank lives on death row in Texas. In 1996, by chance, they started a correspondence. Little by little, they discover each other, meet each other, fall in love and, later, to continue to see each other despite the restrictions imposed on Franck regarding his conditions of detention, they get married. Twenty years later, they still love each other but still do not live together.

The performance will be followed by a discussion with the artist and Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner.

Bar open on site from 7pm
Free admission subject to availability

Rue des Tanneurs 75-77, 1000 Brussels
Produced with the help of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles – Direction du théâtre and Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI)
French subtitles English