16 March 2017 :
“The Abolitionist of the Year 2008” Award, which is promoted by Hands Off Cain to recognize the person, who, above all others, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment in the struggle for a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty, is conferred this year upon President of the Council of Ministers Romano Prodi, who on December 18, 2007 successfully took the Resolution for the Moratorium on Capital Punishment to the United Nations’ General Assembly.
The approval of the Resolution, presented by the Government of Romano Prodi, Massimo D’Alema and Emma Bonino, and co-sponsored by 86 countries representing every continent, was undoubtedly the most significant event of 2007, the crowning of a campaign carried out for more than 15 years by Hands Off Cain and the Nonviolent Radical Party, but also a milestone in the march towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
Already in 1994, Italy showed its resolve by being the first country in history to present a resolution for a universal moratorium on capital executions at the General Assembly of the United Nations. The resolution failed by only 8 votes, but in 1997, despite explicit opposition from its European partners, the Government of Romano Prodi decided to present the Pro-Moratorium Resolution to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, which approved the Resolution by an absolute majority every year through 2005. It was also thanks to this fact that attitudes towards the death penalty have radically changed in the world with retentionist countries dropping from 98 in 1994 to 49 today.
The Italian Parliament, in an extraordinary and unanimous vote, successfully passed a law removing any mention of the death penalty in the country’s Constitution and, hence, the possibility – even theoretically – of it ever being reintroduced.
“The Abolitionist of the Year 2008” Award, a work in bronze created specifically by artist Massimo Liberti, represents the earth as a ball on which children are seated on high and looking off in the distance.