Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Progressing toward abolition

The MVFHR seminar in New Orleans over this past weekend was a powerful experience. The participants came from 21 states, and many were quite new to the abolition movement and to gathering with other victims' family members who oppose the death penalty. Participants had a chance to hear presentations about the history of the death penalty and of victims' voices within the abolition movement, victims' rights with respect to the death penalty, working with other victims' groups, ways that victims' voices can be amplified within the death penalty debate, and telling one's story publicly. In addition to the large-group presentations, there were opportunities for the family members of the executed, and family members of victims in unsolved murder cases, to meet and share experiences.

Today Renny Cushing is representing MVFHR in London at Penal Reform International's conference on “Progressing toward abolition of the death penalty and alternative sanctions that respect international human rights standards." Other speakers include a representative from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and from human rights groups in Africa and Russia.

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