Poland Demands EU Make Day for “Right to Life” Not Just Day Against Death Penalty

By Peter J. Smith

  WARSAW, September 6, 2007 ( -The European Commission’s proposal to establish a European Day Against the Death Penalty has come under sharp criticism from Poland, which says the European Union (EU) instead needs to promote a day dedicated to the protection of all human life.

  In the proposed declaration, the EU and the Council of Europe "stress the importance of persevering in the pursuit of actions aimed at abolishing the death penalty in the world" and "invite European citizens to support the abolition of the death penalty in the world and thereby contribute to the development of fundamental rights and human dignity."

  However Poland has objected to the notion that "development of fundamental rights and human dignity" can take place without being placed in the context of the "right to life."

"We think that when anybody wants to discuss a problem of death in the context of the law it is also worth to discuss on euthanasia and abortion in this context," declared a spokesman for the Polish delegation.

  The spokesman added, "We are not sure whether it is worth establishing a special day" for only the death penalty, especially since all EU nations had already abolished the death penalty.

  The Polish maneuver anticipates the September 18 meeting of EU justice ministers, which would formally give the go-ahead for the death penalty day. The day would coincide with the October 10 "World Day Against the Death Penalty" held since 2003.

  Ambassadors of EU member states are expected to discuss the declaration further today. Since the declaration is subject to unanimous agreement in the EU Council, Poland’s continuing rejection of the death penalty day would effectively make the proposal dead on arrival.  

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