The Participant’s Handbook is out! You will soon hold it in your hands, as it will be given to you at the Congress entrance ; inside, you will find all the necessary information to guide you through the very large programme of this 7th edition of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty. For the most impatient, the PDF version is available now!
The World Congress Against the Death Penalty is a crucial event which is indispensable for the abolitionist movement. This 7th Congress, taking place at the heart of Europe, will be an opportunity to come together again, catch up with old friends for many and meet each another for the first time for others. We will also be able to support one another, share our progress, mourn the deaths and break through that feeling of isolation which sometimes makes our work so sad; above all, this Congress will provide the hope and energy needed to resume the struggle once we are all home again.
This feeling of belonging to a cause which unites us is essential. It explains much of the success of the Congress and the World Coalition, and it will be particularly showcased at the World Coalition’s General Assembly on 26 February, the Networking evening on 27 February and, of course, the Abolition Village which is running throughout the Congress.
But the Congress is not only somewhere to get back to basics and see friends; it’s also somewhere to build new strategies, explore and draw up new action to be carried out, and adapt to the changing geopolitical context. It is a unique opportunity to provide an answer to the rise in populism, the risk of a return to the death penalty in abolitionist countries in law or in practice, and the growing dangers faced by human rights defenders.
To respond to these new challenges, the programme, about which all members of the World Coalition were consulted, contains a number of innovations: a side event on online security, a workshop on new technology and new strategies, a roundtable on the specific discrimination faced by female death row prisoners, a workshop on the needs of people sentenced to death and their families. This Congress will also be an opportunity to prepare the next World Day Against the Death Penalty with a side event on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed and a private meeting of the World Day working group.
I hope this Congress will be one of emotion, reflection, brilliant ideas and rewarding meetings for you all. It is at such meetings that we take full measure of what we have accomplished the rest of the time and that we feel most profoundly the very rightness of our cause.
I looking forward to seeing you again or meeting you for the first time – in honour of life!
Aurélie PLAÇAIS, Director of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, France