On the occasion of October 10, World Day Against the Death Penalty, Workingwomen renews its commitment to the task of rooting out the culture of violence – which includes State violence – and growing, instead, a culture of peace.

The death penalty is on its way out of human civilization. Most countries of the world have abolished it in law or in practice. They have either removed it from their law books, or have not carried out executions for many years, even though the death penalty remains part of their law.

Our country finds itself among a minority determined to linger in the backwater of history. There is no sustained public conversation on the death penalty, because government after government puts the lid firmly on the topic by declaring “It’s the law”, as though the law were a done deal, not open to change.

Governments hold out the death penalty to us as the Great Deterrent, the solution to violent crime. This is a case of deliberately fooling the population, since all of our governments have been laced with very learned lawyers fully aware of what the research shows – that the death penalty is no deterrent.

However, each government has found it more convenient to keep the death penalty as an easy way to ramp up its popularity, especially in times of falling stocks, than to encourage any serious public awareness of the issues surrounding it.

We commend those brave persons and organizations who seek to air these issues in the public domain, despite the abuse from citizens and politicians that this attracts. For this year’s commemoration of World Day Against the Death Penalty we would like to single out and honour three of the women in our society who have dared to speak out in favour of abolishing the death penalty: Verna St. Rose Greaves, champion of crime prevention by the route of attending to social problems, especially improving the lives of children; Leela Ramdeen of The Catholic Commission for Social Justice; and deceased Angela Cropper, founder of the Cropper Foundation.

October 8, 2013

 

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