The International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDP or Commission) has received the Council of Europe’s 2020 North-South Award at an event held in the Sala do Senado of the Palácio de São Bento in Lisbon.
ICDP, which is based in Madrid, was represented by Commissioner Marta Santos Pais in person, with a video message from President, Navi Pillay, and the ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of the Portuguese National Assembly, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge.
The North-South Prize, which this year was shared by ICDP and the Mediterranean Experts on Climate Change and Environmental Change, is awarded by the Lisbon-based European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, better known as the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre.
ICDP President Navi Pillay said her organisation accepts the award “with deep gratitude” and said: “The North-South Prize is a source of inspiration for the Commission, and we reiterate our commitment to continue our work with renewed vigour, with the goal of achieving a world free of the death penalty, a world in which this cruel, inhuman and degrading practice has been abolished worldwide”.
“We accept this award with humility, at a time of a disastrous pandemic that has affected the world and compromised progress in the realisation of human rights, presenting new challenges to safeguarding the right to life. We accept this award with pride, in recognition of ICDP’s achievements since its inception in October 2010,” added Pillay.
She concluded by expressing ICDP’s gratitude “to our allies and friends in the death penalty abolitionist movement”.
ICDP Commissioner Marta Santos Pais expressed her “great happiness and pride” at being able to receive the North-South Award today on behalf of the International Commission against the Death Penalty in the national parliament of her country, Portugal.
He emphasised that “the recipients of the Council of Europe’s North-South Prize are individuals and organisations who have distinguished themselves by their commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
All the laureates,” he said, “have in common their strong determination to promote North-South dialogue, cooperation and partnerships. My fellow Commissioners come from both North and South, as do the member states of the Commission’s Support Group. The North-South Prize gives us the energy to pursue our mission with renewed enthusiasm. Together, we can move faster and further in our quest for a world free of the death penalty.