Efforts Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty: Challenges and Prospects

The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Research Group on Human Rights, Armed Conflicts, and the Law of Peace and Security welcome you to a conference on international, regional and national efforts towards ensuring the abolition of the death penalty. This conference will be an integral part of the Oslo Peace Days 2021 and feature the participation of various renowned speakers who will convene to take stock of the developments in the area of the abolition of the death penalty over the last years. Registration required (link below).

Several protest signs laying on the grass. They read: Don't kill for me, it's time to end the death penalty, the death penalty is fatally flawed.

Billy K/javacolleen, "AI Seattle Death Penalty Protest". Published at Flickr.com under a Creative Commons license.

Practical information

This conference will be held as a hybrid event, meaning that it is possible to join in person or via Zoom. Please register using the link below and select your preferred attendance modality. If you choose to join us via Zoom, the login details will be shared with registered participants well in advance.


For any questions concerning the event, please contact Eduardo Sánchez Madrigal: e.s.madrigal@nchr.uio.no

About the Conference:

Significant work and efforts at the international, regional, and national levels have gone into ensuring the abolition of the death penalty or imposing a moratorium on its implementation. Many actors have been involved in these ongoing efforts, including States, international and regional organizations’ representatives, various human rights mechanisms and experts, and civil society organizations. Significant discussions have taken place at one of the most important international forums, namely the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In 2007, the first time a resolution on a moratorium for executions was adopted by the UNGA, only 104 States voted in favour.

On 16 December 2020, the UNGA plenary session adopted a resolution on a moratorium on executions, with a view to fully abolishing the death penalty, after 123 States voted in favor. This shows some gradual progress over the years, though perhaps not as fast-paced as hoped. The Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee or Committee) have engaged with this issue over many years. The second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has been ratified by 89 States. General Comment 36 on the right to life adopted in 2018 is especially important for the work of the Committee. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with its mandate to promote and protect all human rights, advocates for the universal abolition of the death penalty.

Besides work at the international level through various UN mechanisms, some regional organizations are actively working on the abolition of the death penalty, whereas others are discussing moratoriums and other measures to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes. The Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU) have been working on this issue for decades. With these developments and activities in mind, this international conference will convene to take stock of the developments in this area over the last years, since the 3rd Oslo International Symposium on Capital Punishment, held from 6-8 December 2015.

The aim of this conference is to provide a broad picture of the work concerning the abolition and prevention of the death penalty from various important actors. To that aim, we have invited several distinguished speakers that will inform us of the institutional work being done and reflect on the process of the abolition of the death penalty and remaining challenges and prospects.


The event will be divided into a keynote address followed by two panels of speakers.

9.00-10.00: Arrival and registration

10.00-10.05: Welcome by Professor Svein Stølen, Rector, University of Oslo.

10.05-10.15: Introduction to the conference, by Professor Gentian Zyberi, Head of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo.

10.15-11.00: Keynote Lecture

11.00-11.15: Q&A

11.15-11.30: Short break

11.30-13.00: Panel 1 - Institutional efforts aimed at preventing and stopping the death penalty. 

Moderator: Gentian Zyberi.

      Q&A (15-30 minutes)

13.00-14.00: Lunch break

14.00-15.30: Panel 2 - Perspectives from various human rights mechanisms and international law aspects concerning the death penalty

Moderator: Vibeke Blaker Strand

     Q&A (15-30 minutes)

15.30-15.45: Concluding remarks and end of the conference

About the Speakers

Download: Biographies

Download: Panel Interventions (Abstracts)

Tags: NCHR, Death Penalty, Oslo Peace Days, Human Rights
Published Nov. 10, 2021 10:11 AM - Last modified Dec. 10, 2021 11:38 AM