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October 24 2014 | JAPAN

"No justice without life": Japan and Europe in dialogue on justice, human rights, abolition of the death penalty

The conference organised by Sant'Egidio convened representatives of institutions, campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty, witnesses, to address a key issue: the rule of law and the exercise of justice in Japan.

 
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No Justice without Life: For the second time, in the Diet, the Japanese parliament, the heart of the legislative power, Sant'Egidio invited representatives of institutions, campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty, witnesses, to address a crucial issue : the rule of law and the exercise of justice in Japan.

For more than twelve years now, the Community has promoted meetings at all levels, in different cities of Japan, on the issue of the death penalty, involving in the debate religious and secular groups, civil society and social organisations. But in recent years, participation has grown up to the important meeting of yesterday, which has seen an exponential increase in the level of participation in the initiative, more than we could have expected.

The conference discussed concrete issues, with the people that, in their respective countries, are actively working on a renewal of the legal systems: There are Mario Marazziti, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Parliament, and Shizuka Kamei, president of the Parliamentary League for the abolition of the death penalty in Japan. There is Alberto Quattrucci on behalf of the Community of Sant'Egidio, which has been committed globally for years to removing the death penalty from the vocabulary of international justice.

A qualified public, large and attentive, following the debate, touching moments of intense emotion, when the floor was taken by Iwao Hakamada, an elder (pictured as he takes the word), who spent 46 years on death row despite being innocent: "Ten thousand days without leaving the cell, not knowing whether, beyond the door, there is the attendant for dinner or the firing squad".

While the conference was taking place, eliminating geographical distances, Pope Francis, meeting a delegation of the International Association of Penal Law, had strong words and stated that "All Christians and people of good will are therefore called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, be it legal or illegal, in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, respecting the human dignity of the persons deprived of their liberty".

The final proposal of the conference, made explicit by Alberto Quattrucci of Sant'Egidio, indicates a future commitment: "to build more "bridges" of dialogue and constructive cooperation, legislative, political, cultural and social, between Europe and Japan".

Tomorrow, the next Asian stage of "No justice without life": 27 October in Manila, in the Philippines. 

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