Friday, March 29, 2013
Civil servants are not safe with the BN - today civil servant tommorow private sector employee with maybe no employment security..
Civil servants under the Barisan Nasional Government are really precarious employees - any time you can be abandoned by this government - losing all benefits and privileges and suddenly ending up as a private sector employee - not only that you may also lose your regular employment until retirement and end up as a short-term contract employee - worse still you may become a 'contractor for labour employee' where you may be working for a company as all other workers - but you are not an employee. You lose employment security - and a lot of other rights....
Why? Well this BN government is interested in PRIVATISING every thing - and also 'outsourcing work' to outside contractors...
Remember 'former' civil servants in the Postal Services, Telecommunication, KTM,.... Now there is movement in this BN government to even privatize healthcare ... soon it may also be education, etc...
Jabatan Kerja Raya.... Jabatan Bekalan Air - what is happening? Well, nowadays they just 'outsource' work to private contractors, work that used to be done by civil servants - hence no more need for many civil servants because work you used to do is now done by outside private contractors...
Before, it would have been Jabatan Bekalan Air workers who come repair broken pipes - today, in Temerloh first to come is the contractor who digs up the road, repairs the pipe BUT does not cover the hole or resurface/repair the road - guess what that is the work for a different contractor...previously it would have been a Jabatan Bekalan Employee/s (civil servants) who would have come and did all the work properly
TM - well nowadays, the one that comes to do repairs is some private contractor - and he is specific, either he repairs connection in the house, or outside cables - Wonder whether the increase in cable theft incidence has anything to do with 'increasing' work and profits of these private contractors? Again, TM employees lose employment opportunities...
Well, apparently it is also happening in the civil service - the outsourcing of work to outside private contractors. That means the lose of employment opportunities for civil servants...
Police personnel, there has been call for an increase of pay for persons in the police force and security services, given also the fact that there is a real 'life-threathening' environment - but alas this government kept their wages so low that many Malaysians do not even want to apply to join such services - now, finally when BN may lose in the bext General Elections, increments happen - but can you forget the last 50 plus years and just because a desparate government is now handing out increments, bonuses, goodies, etc....you still vote in the same BN government again.
Civil Servants employment is not at risk if there is a change of government - the law prevents 'wrongful dismissal' of workers - Your job is secure - so why worry who wins the next elections.
Only consideration is whether it is time to give some other than this BN to govern - after all a new broom sweeps clean compared to 50 year plus government. Think about the future of Malaysians, and that includes your children..
Really, this Minister must read the law first before embarrassing Malaysia and Malaysians.
Well, short term-contract employees are already covered by SOCSO - only not covered are 'casual employees and that too those employed ...just see the words of the act, and note the word is used is AND not or, so both conditions need to be fulfilled before this employee is not covered by SOCSO - "Any person whose employment is of casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's industry
Of course employees when they start are earning RM3,000 or more is not covered.
Now, it is the BN government who made this law...
Now, the Minister must know for sure that he, the Prime Minister and the Government is also bound by the laws in Malaysia - and until laws are actually amended by Parliament - nothing can be done.
NOW, are you telling Malaysians that the Malaysian government as employer has been denying sivil servants on short-term contracts social security protection, Mr Minister?
I believe that SOCSO should be covering all workers, including the self employed, and all workers should have the right and the opportunity to join the scheme even on their own...It should cover every one including all casual workers, and even those who start employment with a salary of above RM3,000. Of course, benefits of the those earning more than say, RM5,000 should be adjusted - i.e. a ceiling on mamaximum benefits payable..
'TEMPORARY CIVIL SERVANTS' - well this are really short term contract employees - maybe their term is really short compared to other contract employess.
63,000? ...but did not the PM recently say 50,000 short-term contract civil servants - so who really is right? HR Minister or PM?
The call was to convert all short-term employment contracts into regular employment until retirement age. But NO, what BN is promising is that their contracts would be extended for just ONE year... so after that they may lose their employment, is that it.
All Malaysian workers want employment security - but alas Malaysian government has just taken away that right allowing employers to employ workers on short-term employment contracts - and there is no restrictions as to the percentage of employees one can employ vide such precarious employment contracts... Now, Malaysia have allowed employers(principals and owner/operator of factories, plantations and workplaces) to totally avoid employment relationship. You may be working is Kilang ILOVRPM but I am not an employee - I am just a worker.
Dr Subra: 63,000 contract, temporary civil servants to get Socso benefitsPUTRAJAYA: About 63,000 contract and temporary civil servants, who are not contributors, will enjoy various benefits provided under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) Protection Scheme effective May 1.The government would spend RM30mil annually as a contribution to Socso for the expansion of the scheme, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam on Thursday.It covers those serving in the federal/state civil service, federal/state statutory bodies and local authorities.
He said they would enjoy all benefits under the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme and Invalidity Pension Scheme similar to those enjoyed by private sector employees.“The Cabinet made the decision last week. As such, all the workers concerned will automatically be registered under Socso.“Socso will also contact the relevant departments and agencies to carry out the registration,” he said.He added that the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme would protect those who suffered from accidents arising from work, involved in an accident while on their way to work and home as well as occupational diseases.The Invalidity Pension Scheme, he said provided a 24 hours coverage for workers from invalidity or dies irrespective of the cause of death.- Star, 28/3/2013, Dr Subra: 63,000 contract, temporary civil servants to get Socso benefits
EMPLOYEES SOCIAL SECURITY ACT 1969
(5) Subject to section 3, "employee" means any person who is employed for wages under a contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer, whether the contract is expressed or implied or is oral or in writing, on or in connection with the work of an industry to which this Act applies and -
(i) who is directly employed by the principal employer on any work of, or incidental or preliminary to or connected with the work of, the industry, whether such work is done by the employee on the premises of the industry or elsewhere; or
(ii) who is employed by or through an immediate employer on the premises of the industry or under the supervision of the principal employer or his agent on work which is ordinarily part of the work of the industry or which is preliminary to the work carried on in or incidental to the purpose of the industry; or
(iii) whose services are temporarily lent or let on hire to the principal employer by the person with whom the person whose services are so lent or let on hire has entered into a contract of service;
Section 3 - Applicability
(1) This Act shall apply to all industries having one or more employees.
(2) In this section, "employees" include any employee employed by the immediate employer.
(3) This Act shall not apply to persons described in the First Schedule.
(4) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, amend the First Schedule.
And the First Schedule is as follows:-
[Section 3] (1) Any person whose wages exceed three thousand ringgit a month:
Provided that where after an employee has become liable to pay contributions as provided in section 6 of this Act, the wages of such employee at any time exceed three thousand ringgit a month such employee shall not by reason only of this paragraph be deemed to have become excluded from the provisions of this Act, but his wages shall for all the purposes of this Act be deemed to be three thousand ringgit a month:(2) Any person whose employment is of casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's industry.
And provided further that in any other case where a person, whose wages exceed three thousand ringgit a month, and his employer elect to pay any contribution in accordance with this Act then such person shall be deemed to be an employee under this Act.
(3) A domestic servant, that is, a person employed exclusively in the work or in connection with work of a private dwelling house and not of any trade, business or profession carried on by the employer in such dwelling house and includes a cook, house servant (including bedroom and kitchen servants), waiter, butler, child's or baby's nurse, valet, footman, gardener, washerman or washerwoman, watchman, groom and driver or cleaner of any vehicle licensed for private use.
(4) A tributer, that is, a person who is permitted to win minerals or produce of any kind from or on the land of another and who, in consideration of such permission, gives a proportion of the minerals or produce so won to that other person or pays to him the value of such proportion.
(5) The spouse of the principal employer or the immediate employer.
(6) Any member of the Malaysian Armed Forces or of any Local Forces established under any written law or of any Visiting Force lawfully present in Malaysia under any written law relating to Visiting Forces.
(7) Any police officer, and any other person engaged to perform police duties in accordance with the provisions of any written law while so performing such duties.
(8) Any person detained in any prison, Henry Gurney School, approved school, detention camp, mental hospital, or leper settlement.
(9) (Deleted by Act A814:s.43)
(10) (Deleted by Act A814:s.43)
(11) (Deleted by Act A814:s.43)
(12) In so far as the provisions of this Act relating to invalidity pension are concerned -
(i) an employee who has attained the age of fifty-five years and in respect of whom no contributions were payable before he attained the age of fifty-five years; or(13) (Am. Act A1445:s.10)
(ii) an employee who has attained the age of sixty years; or
(iii) a certified invalid who is in receipt of invalidity pension.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
National Wages Council has NO power to allow employers delay paying migrant workers minimum wages...
National Wages Consultative Council have got no power (and/or authority) to delay migrant workers right to receive Minimum Wages... Let us look at the NATIONAL WAGES CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL ACT 2011 (Act 732) - NWCC is to consult, analyze...make recommendations and give advice to the government... (see section 4 of the Act)
Yes, the NWCC makes recommendations - and then the power lies with the Government through Minister(Minister of Human Resources) who can agree with the recommendations... or NOT. The government can also not listen at all to the NWCC and come up with their own decision.
Section 22 Council To Make Recomendations
(1) Based on the actions taken under section 21, the Council shall, at such time as the Minister may determine, make a recommendation to the Government through the Minister on the following matters:(a) the minimum wages rates;(2) The Government may, after considering the recommendation-
(b) the coverage of the recommended minimum wages rates according to sectors, types of employment and regional areas;
(c) the non-application of the recommended minimum wages rates and coverage to any sectors, types of employment and regional areas or to any person or class of persons;
(d) the commencement of the minimum wages order and the different dates for the commencement of the minimum wages order to different sectors, types of employment and regional areas, or to different persons or class of persons; and
(e) other matters relating to the minimum wages, including the implementation of the recommended minimum wages rates and coverage.
(a) agree with the recommendation; or(3) Where the Government directs the Council to review the recommendation and make a fresh recommendation under paragraph (2)(b), section 21 and subsection (1) shall apply.
(b) direct the Council to review the recommendation within the period as the Government may determine and make a fresh recommendation.
(4) The Government may, after considering the fresh recommendation made pursuant to subsection (3)-
(a) agree with the fresh recommendation; or
(b) disagree with the fresh recommendation and determine the matters specified in paragraphs (1)(a) to (e).
After, this there must be an ORDER ...
Section 23 - Minimum Wages Order
(1) Where the Government agrees with the recommendation of the Council under paragraph 22(2)(a) or 22(4)(a) or determines the matters under paragraph 22(4)(b), the Minister shall, by notification in the Gazette, make a minimum wages order on the matters specified in paragraphs 22(1)(a) to (e) as agreed to or determined by the Government.
(2) The Minister may, upon the direction of the Government, by notification in the Gazette, amend or revoke the minimum wages order.
Section 24 - Effect of a Minimum Wages Order
(1) For the purpose of this section, "contract of service" includes the collective agreement made under section 14 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 [Act 177].
(2) Where the rates of the basic wages agreed in a contract of service is lower than the minimum wages rates as specified in the minimum wages order, the rates shall be substituted with any rates not lower than the minimum wages rates as specified in the minimum wages order.
(3) Where the rates of the basic wages agreed in a contract of service is higher than the minimum wages rates as specified in the minimum wages order, the rates shall not be reduced to any rates lower than the rates of the basic wages agreed in the contract of service.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing an employer and an employee from agreeing to any rates of the basic wages which are higher than the minimum wages rates as specified in the minimum wages order.
I went and visited the Ministry of Human Resources website - and discovered that there is NO new Minimum Wages Order.
The last document there was a Media Statement of Wages Consultative Council (Kenyataan Akhbar Urus Setia Majlis Perundingan Gaji Negara)
This got me thinking. What is a government advisory - make recommendation body doing by issuing such statements - which is confusing everybody including employers and workers.. They have no business making such a statement...[That media statement was dated 20/2/2013 - and I believe that they even got the date wrong for I believe that it should possibly be 20/3/2013 considering when the media reports came out.]
This is not the first time that they have confused matters, the last time they came out with Guidelines On The Implementation Of The Minimum Wages Order 2012 which again caused confusion. Remember, that when we talk about minimum wage - we are talking about basic wage, not including overtime, other allowances and remuneration benefits. We shall not go into this for the moment.
Now, if employers who were required to pay minimum wages in January 2013 did not do this, the committed an OFFENCE. All employers with more than 5 employees, unless they were given more time vide Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order 2012 dated 28/12/2013 which was very clear which employer was given the right to delay payment of minimum wages in January 2013. The names of the employers are there...
What is the penalty for not paying Minimum Wages...
Section 43 Offence
An employer who fails to pay the basic wages as specified in the minimum wages order to his employees commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of not more than ten thousand ringgit for each employee.
Not a good penalty at all - it could even be RM1 per employee, supporting the perception that this government is pro-employer and anti-worker. It would have been better, if a minimum fine per employee was also stipulated - i.e. maybe RM1,000 per employee...
So, we know that there are employers that have committed the offence, and what we would all like to know is how many employers have been charged with this offence? The offence has already been committed - hopefully this government do not give them some sort of 'amnesty' and do not even prosecute and convict them for their offence...Hopefully not
After the first Minimum Wages Order 2012 dated 16/7/2013, employers had the opportunity to go appeal - and many did and in 28/12/2013, we saw that many were given a DELAY as to when they will start paying their workers Minimum Wage. Workers were cheated... and promise was broken at the very last minute when they already were expecting Minimum Wages in January 2013?
Did our Prime Minister apologize to the workers affected? I did not see any such apology from the government... In fact, all expressed concern seem to be about the 'predicament' of employers - not at all the continued suffering of workers being paid wages so low... in an environment where cost of living has certainly gone up, many of which was caused directly or indirectly by this government.
Finally fixing a minimum wage for workers in Malaysia was GOOD and JUST, and for that the government need to be applauded despite the fact that it took so many years after the government became aware of the fact in 2009 that millions of workers were receiving very low wages - below the poverty line income.
CAN THEY DELAY THE PAYMENT FOR MIGRANT WORKERS, WHEN LOCAL WORKERS OF THE SAME EMPLOYER IS ALREADY ENJOYING THE RIGHT TO MINIMUM WAGES?
My answer would be NO - as it goes against even our Federal Constitution. Until the Federal Constitution is amended, you cannot discriminate against a worker - just because he/she is not a Malaysian Citizen. Section 60L of Employment Act 1955 is also clear about this. No discrimination by employers on the grounds that the worker is a foreigner...
Senator Syed Shahir : Malaysia Must Keep Its Promise To Workers Made In July 2012 - Stop Discriminating Workers, Including Migrant Workers
PRESS STATEMENT - 26/3/2013
Senator Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud advisor to the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers.
Senator Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud advisor to the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers.
STOP DISCRIMINATING WORKERS, INCLUDING MIGRANT WORKERS
All workers in Malaysia must be entitled to receive Minimum Wages, and a delay of this right to migrant workers as stated in the media report entitled ‘SMEs may defer minimum wages for foreign workers until Dec 31’(New Straits Times, 20/3/2013) is unacceptable. The said report referred to a statement from the National Wages Consultative Council. The pronouncement certainly goes against the spirit of the Section 60(L) of Employment Act, 1955 that clearly against any form of discrimination amongst workers, based on whether one is a local worker or a migrant worker. It also goes against the core principle of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that is against any form of discrimination in respect of employment, and Article 23(2) of the UN Declaration of Human Rights that clearly states that “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”
The Malaysian government’s earlier declared position was that all workers, including migrant workers (foreign workers) were entitled to minimum wages was correct, but now if this right be delayed it will be wrong, unjust and discriminatory.
When the Malaysian government decided to transfer the obligation of paying levy from employers to migrant workers, it reversed the policy behind the very introduction of levy, which was to deter employers hiring foreigners rather than local workers, and protect employment opportunities of the local worker. The move to now allow employers who pay migrant workers minimum wages to again deduct wages to recover the levy was strongly criticized by many quarters. 82 groups including the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) vide a statement ‘Minimum Wages for All Workers, Including Migrant Workers - No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable by Employers – issued also by me on 5/2/2013. It defeats the very intention of introducing minimum wages, if employers are allowed to remove pre-existing benefits or make new wage deductions.
Vide Minimum Wages Order 2012 dated 16 July 2012, the Malaysian government promised Malaysian workers minimum wages in January 2013, save for workers with employers with 5 or less workers who were to receive minimum wages by July 2013. Then, on 28 December 2012, vide Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order 2012, promises to workers were broken when over 600 listed employers were permitted to pay their workers minimum wages at a later date, being April, July or even October 2013. The latest breach of promise is when employers, categorized as Small Medium Enterprises(SME) were allowed to delay payment of minimum wages to their migrant workers until December 2013.
There really is no justification for allowing medium enterprises that is defined as businesses having a ‘sales turnover between RM10 million and RM25million OR full time employees between 51 and 150’, that also falls within the definition of SMEs any delay in paying their workers, including migrant workers, minimum wages as of January 2013.
Further, it must be pointed out that there is still no Order issued by the Minister that has been gazette, and as such these SMEs still have to pay all their workers, including migrant workers minimum wages from January unless they are employers given special exemption vide the 28th December Order, or they are employers with 5 or less employees.
If workers were already entitled to receive minimum wages in January 2013, it would be wrong to try and extinguish that right by some later gazetted Order. Even if there be such an Order, which would be blatantly unjust, employers must still pay the minimum wages from January 2013 until such an Order comes into being.
In the New Straits Times Report, the National Wages Consultative Council(NWCC) was reported saying that employers ‘…would be given blanket approval for deductions of levy and cost of accommodation..’, which are matters that are not only beyond the mandate of the NWCC but are also settled by law. Permissible wage deductions are explicitly stated, and as an example, for deductions like cost of accommodation, the legal requirement is that there must be a request in writing by the individual employee, and thereafter a special permission of the Director General of Human Resources. If the worker disagrees or do not make such a request, there can be no such wage deduction.
After a migrant worker has agreed to come to Malaysia and work usually for about 5 years, and/or is already here working here, it is very wrong and unjust to suddenly impose additional and new liabilities on the migrant worker especially when it affects income. Any new liabilities should be imposed only on migrant workers yet to have agreed to come to work in Malaysia.
I call on the Malaysian government, whose 2012 Merdeka Day slogan was ‘Janji DiTepati’ (Promises Kept) to adhere to its promises made to all workers, including migrant workers in Malaysia and ensure that the promised minimum wages are received at the time as promised on 16th July 2012. Malaysians believe in justice and equality, and there should be no discrimination of workers by the government. All workers, including migrant workers must be treated equally especially when it comes to wages – including minimum wages.
Shah Alam, Selangor; 26th March, 2013.
Friday, March 22, 2013
“The Death Penalty: Why, and how to Abolish it?” - UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang
Statement of the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, at the high-level event on “The Death Penalty: Why, and how to Abolish it?”
25 February 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the High Commissioner and all of us at OHCHR, may I say how grateful I am to the International Commission against the Death Penalty for organising this high level meeting to discuss why and how to abolish the death penalty. Our thanks go also to the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Norway, Spain and Switzerland.
Developments over recent years in all regions of the world indicate a growing trend towards abolition. But we cannot sit content at the achievement. Reaching our goal continues to require concerted and conjoined advocacy at the local and global levels. Abolishing the death penalty takes political courage. There are always some who will try to manipulate public concerns about heinous crimes for their own purposes and call for the retention or reintroduction of the death penalty. Such attempts should be countered with leadership, reason and mutual support between States, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. Leaders need to explain the ethical and practical reasons for abolishing the death penalty to their constituencies.
Why abolish the death penalty?
The reasons, particularly from the human rights perspective, are compelling.
The death penalty undermines human dignity and is irreconcilable with human rights. Its abolition is needed to fully safeguard the most sacred of all human rights, the right to life. In this regard, let us recall that in the 1960s, when drafting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, its authors were already paving the way for the move in international law towards the abolition of the death penalty. The last paragraph of article 6 of the ICCPR on the right to life provides that “nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or prevent the abolition of capital punishment in any State party to the Covenant”.
Beyond the right to life, the death penalty invariably entails cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of international law. The cruelty of the death penalty starts long before the actual killing, when the condemned person sits on death row, caught between the fear of sudden and often violent death and the faint hope that appeals for due process or clemency could spare his life after all. Thus, as Mr. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, stated in his report to the General Assembly, “there is evidence of an evolving standard within international bodies and a robust State practice to frame the debate about the legality of the death penalty within the context of the fundamental concepts of human dignity and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Furthermore, the application of the death penalty often leads to a violation of the right to equality and non-discrimination. In sentencing, the decision whether to sentence the convicted to death or life imprisonment is often arbitrary, disproportionate and devoid of predictable rational criteria. In this process, the odds are often stacked against the poor and persons belonging to minorities and other common targets of discrimination, such as LGBT persons.
Another crucial element is the finality of the death penalty, such that errors in the criminal justice system become irreparable. Miscarriages of justice cannot be fully eliminated from any legal system. Even the most developed and robust system, with multiple judicial safeguards, cannot provide an absolute guarantee of factual certainty in all cases. Whenever the death penalty is used, there is a grave risk that individuals are executed for crimes they did not commit, as shown in too many instances of individuals who were exonerated after conviction, often on the basis of evidence provided by DNA testing.
And finally, there is lack of merit in the common assertion that the death penalty has a deterrent effect. Research does not support this claim. On the contrary, some studies and research have actually revealed a correlation between the abolition of the death penalty and a decrease in murder rates. Other studies have concluded that capital punishment does not deter criminality more than any other form of punishment, and that the certainty of punishment, rather than its severity, deters criminals. To curb serious crimes, the focus should therefore lie on reforming the justice system and rendering it more effective.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, we will also discuss how to abolish the death penalty. In this regard, the following measures should serve as our starting point.
De jure and de facto abolitionist States should join the 75 countries that have already ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
De facto abolitionist States should confirm such abolition in law and pending adoption of the law, establish an official moratorium on executions. Formal abolition is required to secure the outcome of the hard-won national debate and prevent it from unravelling in times of political turmoil and populism.
For all retentionist States, the first step toward abolition is the initiation of a dialogue on this issue. The effectiveness and transparency of such a debate requires the provision to the public of accurate information and statistics on criminality and on the various effective ways to combat it. In this regard, the lack of data on the number of executions or the number of individuals on death row constitutes a serious impediment that remains to be overcome in several States.
Until the death penalty is abolished, or a moratorium established aiming to abolish it, retentionist States should ensure, at a minimum, full compliance with all relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In particular, article 6 of the ICCPR provides that the application of the death penalty shall be limited to the “most serious crimes.” It should be recalled that this term has been interpreted to mean that the death penalty should only be applied to the crime of murder or intentional killing.
Furthermore, according to article 6, the death penalty cannot be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.
In addition, according to the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, the sentence of death is so grave that it should not be mandatory. Nor can it be carried out in secret, as it would amount to inhuman treatment of the executed person’s family.
Retentionist countries must also ensure scrupulous respect of due process guarantees. In accordance with the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, the imposition of a death sentence at the conclusion of a trial in which the provisions of article 14 of the ICCPR have not been respected constitutes a violation of the right to life. Furthermore, executions should not take place when an appeal or other recourse is pending, and there must be the possibility for the individual sentenced to seek pardon or appeal.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We must remain ever vigorous in explaining and persuading those who have yet to be convinced that the application of the death penalty is unjust and incompatible with fundamental human rights values. It is an affront to the right to life and human dignity, not just the dignity of the immediate victim, but our shared human dignity.
In this regard, I am confident and grateful that this high level meeting today and the 5th World Congress in June in Madrid will add much impact to that message and contribute to attaining our goal of the universal abolition of the death penalty.
May I wish you fruitful discussions.