On the Cities for Life Day, November 30, cities around the world celebrate the first abolition of the death penalty by a European state, decreed by Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine in 1786 for his Grand Duchy of Tuscany. On this occasion the participating cities show their commitment for life and against the death penalty.
On this day, participating cities illuminate a symbolic monument, such as the Atomium in Brussels, the Colosseum in Rome and the Plaza de Santa Ana in Madrid. Participating cities in 2009 include more than 60 capitals worldwide, and over 1,200 cities and towns around the world, such as Rome, Brussels, Madrid, Ottawa, Mexico City, Berlin, Barcelona, Florence, Venice, Buenos Aires, Austin, Dallas, Antwerp, Vienna, Naples, Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Reggio Emilia, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile.
By this symbolic action, these cities demand a stay of all executions worldwide. This initiative is promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio and supported by the main international human rights organizations, gathered in the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (Amnesty International, Ensemble contre la Peine de Mort, International Penal Reform, FIACAT).
In 2005, the Cities for Life Day also featured the “Africa for Life” conference about the death penalty in Africa, in which 14 ministers of justice from as many African countries participated. The conference took place in Florence, Tuscany.
Cities continue to join this cause, many in countries that maintain the death penalty.
Cities for Life is sponsored and supported by the Community of Sant’Egidio.