Marta Santos Pais joins the International Commission against the Death Penalty

The Portuguese Government welcomes the invitation addressed to Marta Santos Pais to join the International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDP). It is the first time that a Portuguese citizen will take up this role, a choice that is justified, in the words of the President of ICDP, Judge Navi Pillay, by her “highly respected experience, in-depth human rights expertise and global prestige”.

The universal abolition of the death penalty is a constant priority of Portuguese foreign policy that is materialized in a transversal and coherent action, at bilateral and multilateral level, to put an end to this practice. Portugal was one of the founding members of the ICDP and is an active supporter of its efforts, which have contributed so much to reinforce the global trend to abolish capital punishment.

Over the course of a long career that included the exercise of senior responsibilities in the United Nations, the new Commissioner made an invaluable contribution to the abolitionist cause. Among other examples, we highlight her role in the negotiation of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the inclusion, in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of the clause that prohibits the imposition of the capital punishment on children. Her action also extended to other areas of crucial importance, namely that of combating violence against children, earning her respect from all those who worked with her in the most diverse scenarios. The Portuguese Government is certain that her contribution will continue to prove valuable, and reiterates its support for the work of ICDP.

Marta Santos Pais currently serves as Commissioner of the “National Never Forget Program – on the memory of the Holocaust”.

The ICDP is a structure created in September 2010, with a view to establishing a universal moratorium on the death penalty, aiming at its eventual abolition. Currently, it is supported by a total of 23 states, from all continents of the globe. It is chaired by Navi Pillay, a South African national, previously High Commissioner for Human Rights and former judge at the International Criminal Court, and is composed of several Commissioners of high international standing.