(Brussels) The European Union and the Council of Europe “firmly oppose the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances”. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to the right to life. The death penalty means revenge, not justice, and its abolition contributes to the enhancement of human dignity”. This is according to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić (pictured), who have published a joint statement to mark the European and World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October. “142 countries, representing 74% of the UN member states, have already stopped using the death penalty, either by removing it from their penal code or not carrying out executions for a long time. The abolitionist trend is continuing – they wrote -, with the number of death sentences and executions also falling. In 2018, executions were carried out in 20 countries”. “An ever-growing majority of people and leaders share the view that the death penalty is no better a deterrent to crime than other punishments, and that it does not contribute to public safety. The death penalty disproportionately affects members of vulnerable groups, who cannot afford experienced defence lawyers, and death row prisoners continue to represent the most marginalised sections of society”. “The impact of this cruel punishment also affects the relatives of people subjected to the death penalty, first and foremost their children”.