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Moving Away from the Death Penalty: The Voices of Victims’ Families
29 Sep 2015 -  There is a widespread assumption that victims’ families believe that only the death penalty can provide justice. But this is not accurate. Often murder victims’ families believe the death penalty is harmful and interferes with a difficult healing process, a process that is exacerbated by long delays, a decrease in actual executions, and a belief that responding to one killing with another does not honour the victim. In addition to the trauma suffered by family members and the family of the condemned inmate, there are adverse effects of executions on third parties such as judges, jurors, judicial staff, prison staff, journalists, clergy and spiritual advisors. These are intangible emotional and psychological costs that should be taken into consideration in weighing the costs of the death penalty. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in cooperation with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Italy, Argentina, Benin, Fiji. France and Rwanda, is continuing its series of ‘knowledge events’ on the death penalty with a global panel event on the death penalty and the voices of victims’ families in the death penalty debate. The objectives of the panel are to share experiences from persons intimately involved in decisions as to whether justice means the ultimate punishment – execution.
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