October 10th was the 12th World Day against the Death Penalty, promoted by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, an alliance of more than 150 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities and unions, created in Rome on 13 May 2002. The aim of the World Coalition is to strengthen the international dimension of the fight against the death penalty. Its ultimate objective is to obtain the universal abolition of the death penalty. To achieve its goal, the World Coalition advocates for a definitive end to death sentences and executions in those countries where the death penalty is in force. In some countries, it is seeking to obtain a reduction in the use of capital punishment as a first step towards abolition.
The topic was debated at the Eight Biennial International Council meeting of Prison Fellowship International held in Johannesburg, South Africa from the 17 – 19th September, and Kim Workman attended and presented New Zealand’s position on the topic.
Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson supported capital punishment in the most extreme cases. His successor (recently retired) Ron Nikkel recognised there were different views within Prison Fellowship and felt the matter needed to be debated properly.
Ron Nikkel is in Auckland this week, and has agreed to speak on the topic “Just Prison” at a public meeting hosted by Prison Fellowship and the Robson Hanan Trust (Rethinking Crime and Punishment/JustSpeak) to be held on Wednesday, 15th October, 7.30pm at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Cnr St Stephens and Parnell Road, Auckland.