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HRC46: Denmark joins 50 States in condemning the use of the death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy 

United Nations Human Rights Council 46th session
The death penalty as a punishment for blasphemy and apostasy
Joint statement led by Australia, Item 3 General Debate
9 March 2021

I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of more than 40 states, including my own country, Australia.
The rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association are fundamental to the dignity of human life.  These rights are mutually reinforcing, universal, inalienable, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.  They are protected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  
And yet, there remain places in the world where a person may be put to death for leaving a religion or for expressing a dissenting opinion about a religion.
There are no circumstances in which the death penalty should ever be imposed or carried out as a sanction against persons for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Even where the death penalty is not carried out in practice, the mere existence of this punishment for blasphemy or apostasy in the laws and regulations of a state has what the Secretary-General has called a “significant chilling effect on the legitimate exercise of human rights”.    These laws can be used as a pretext to justify violence in the name of religion.
Religious freedom and tolerance are vital for open and resilient societies.  We call on those states where the death penalty remains an available punishment for blasphemy or apostasy to remove the possibility of that penalty being imposed or carried out, both in practice and in law.  We urge states to release individuals currently on death row or otherwise imprisoned for these offences.


Signatories:
 
1. Albania
2. Andorra
3. Argentina
4. Australia
5. Austria
6. Belgium
7. Brazil
8. Bulgaria
9. Canada
10. Chile
11. Costa Rica
12. Croatia
13. Cyprus
14. Czech Republic
15. Denmark
16. Estonia
17. Fiji
18. Finland
19. France
20. Germany
21. Greece
22. Hungary
23. Iceland
24. Ireland
25. Israel
26. Italy
 
27. Japan
28. Latvia
29. Liechtenstein
30. Lithuania
31. Luxembourg
32. Malta
33. Mexico
34. Monaco
35. Montenegro
36. Netherlands
37. New Zealand
38. North Macedonia
39. Norway
40. Poland
41. Portugal
42. Romania
43. San Marino
44. Slovakia
45. Slovenia
46. Spain
47. Sweden
48. Switzerland
49. Ukraine
50. United Kingdom
51. United States