An impressive cultural programme : a week of cultural events on the death penalty

Never in the history of the World Congresses has cultural expression been put forward so much to denounce, raise awareness and encourage reflection on the major issues related to capital punishment. Through exhibitions of photographs, paintings, drawings, theatrical and poetic performances, as well as short or feature film screenings, art explores the diversity of the causes and consequences of the death penalty in each one of our societies.

Delegates and visitors from Brussels are invited to attend this cultural programme, adapted to young people, professionals, convinced abolitionists and those who could become so!

< Explore the Cultural Programme page to see the events day by day >


PHOTO EXHIBITION: “The great witnesses of abolition” by Christophe Meireis

Photographer Christophe Meireis met the abolitionist cause at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, held in Oslo three years ago. Troubled by the stories and looks of those whose lives have been marked by the death penalty, he wanted to speak their words so that none would ever have to say them again.

Former death row inmates, families of convicts, great abolitionists… Eighteen portraits, steeped in history, will be exhibited in the Menuhin Space of the European Parliament.

Gary Drinkard, one of the faces of “The great witnesses of the abolition” by Christophe Meireis.


Quotes with the strength of a punch that line soft-eyed portraits: this is how the artist has staged these great witnesses of the abolitionist movement. The sense of discomfort created by the gap between the portrait and the quote raises important questions which are the basis of the abolitionist commitment:

What possible coexistence is there between the truth of a human being and the violence of a death sentence?

And therefore, what impact do death sentences really have on human society?

At the heart of the piece surrounded by portraits will be the LXB Chair, a work by Chinese artist Wang Keping, who will present his work on February 27th in Brussels. Made in honour of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiao Bo, who died in detention on July 13th 2017, this empty chair is a true symbol of the struggle for human rights. Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for co-authoring Charter 08, a draft constitution that put human rights and respect for democratic rules at the heart of the Chinese system.

This exhibition will be open from February 25th to March 1st at the Espace Menuhin of the European Parliament.

THEATER: Suzy & Franck, by and with Didier Poiteaux

Suzy lives in Paris, and Frank 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 by his conditions of detention, they get married. Twenty years later, they still love each other but still do not live together.

This story is told and played with such truth by its author, Didier Poiteaux, that the spectator projects himself from the very first seconds into the shoes of Suzy, in love, passionate and activist.

This performance will take place on the first evening of the Congress, February 26th, followed by a discussion with Didier Poiteaux and Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, the source of inspiration for the role of Suzy.

The World March for Abolition: luminous and activist

The World March for Abolition, a real highlight of the World Congresses against the Death Penalty, traditionally closes this political and activist gathering with a moment of strong militant communion.

The great novelty this year is that the walk will be both nocturnal and bright! Following the official Closing Ceremony to be held in Bozar on March 1st, delegates will be invited to join other local civil society actors for the start of the March.

Brussels by night

This year hundreds of us will be lighting the streets of the historic centre and chanting “Abolition Now”, demanding a justice that does not kill and a world without the death penalty. We will share our convictions with the people of Brussels, and will express our commitment outside the walls.

Come and meet us for abolition of capital punishment on Friday March 1st in the heart of the historic centre of Brussels, at the top of the Mont des Arts at 5pm.