As part of France’s future presidency of the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday that the country will undertake a campaign to abolish the death sentence globally.
In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of France’s abolition of the death penalty, Macron indicated that a meeting will be organized in Paris that will bring together civil society groups from countries where the death penalty is still in use or has been suspended.
He said that France, which will hold the rotating chair of the EU Council in the first part of 2022, will engage with other member states on a United Nations resolution requiring countries to report annually on the number of death penalty judgments issued and executions carried out.
Macron was appearing with Robert Badinter, the late President Francois Mitterrand’s justice minister, who was instrumental in getting the death sentence abolished by the French parliament in 1981.
France was the 35th country in the world to outlaw the death sentence. Further abolitions and moratoriums since then mean that most countries no longer use the punishment, although several large nations including China, Iran and the United States maintain it.
In France, the public remains sharply divided on the issue, according to opinion polls, and right-wing commentator Eric Zemmour who has burst into contention for next year’s presidential election has said he supports the death penalty in principle.