Dr Arthur Zitrin and Sister Helen Prejean

Dr. Arthur Zitrin, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, an authority on Medical Ethics and Lethal Injection, in discussion with renowned abolitionist and author Sister Helen Prejean on World Day Against the Death Penalty in New York, October 10, 2007.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Zitrin

On 10 October 2003, the first World Day Against the Death Penalty took place. This event was launched by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which gathers international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Bar Associations, Unions and local governments from all over the world.

Established by organizations who participated in the first international Congress against the death penalty (Strasbourg, 2001), the Coalition aims at encouraging the establishment of national coalitions, the organization of common initiatives and the coordination of international lobbying efforts to sensitize states that still maintain the death penalty.

This year the World Day against the Death Penalty will focus on the proposed UN General Assembly resolution for a universal moratorium on executions. The proposal would save lives and give the population of retentionist states an opportunity to see for themselves that a pause in death sentences does not lead to higher crime rates.