Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Friday at the United Nations

The events at the UN on Friday went very well. The delegation met with the president of the General Assembly for about forty minutes, during which (among other things) Renny Cushing was able to give a brief description of MVFHR's membership and the idea of victim opposition to the death penalty. Mario Marazziti of the Community of Sant'Egidio personally handed over the five million signatures in support of a global moratorium on executions that Sant'Egidio and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty have collected. The GA president said that five million was an impressive number of signatures, and he also commented that personal stories are very important in the discussion of the death penalty.

After the press conference, MVFHR members Bill Babbitt and Marie Verzulli gave interviews to an Italian television station, and Renny and Sister Helen Prejean spoke with someone from the Inter-Press News Service.

Here is a photo of Mario Marazziti, Sister Helen Prejean, and General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim.

And here's an excerpt from an article by the Roman news service Zenit
A global moratorium on the death penalty isn't just an idea of a few countries, but the wish of a large part of the world society, according to a representative of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Mario Marazziti said this Friday as he led a delegation to the United Nations to deliver a petition signed by 5 million people from 154 countries calling for an end to capital punishment. ... Asked about the experience of having collected so many signatures, Marazziti told ZENIT that it was the fruit of nine years of work. He added, "To have and collect five million signatures you need to talk to about 50 million people in the world, in 154 countries."

Marazziti said that he believes that the death penalty lowers the state and civil society to the level of a killer, and that while some defend a culture of life, they wind up legitimating a culture of death.

"For the first time a real moral interfaith and also lay/secular front was created" Marazziti noted in reference to the petition. "The thing is that it is a demonstration of the strong will of the world and not just an idea of human rights that is rooted in the Italian or European tradition."

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