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The co-conveners of the Australian Parliamentarians against the Death Penalty group, The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP and Mr. Chris Hayes MP have condemned the executions of eight people in Indonesia today and have vowed to step up advocacy against the death penalty.
Mr. Hayes says the Australian Parliamentarians against the Death Penalty group is greatly disappointed by the news coming from Indonesia and is now working to develop an even broader program to ensure opposition to capital punishment remains a focus for Australian Parliamentarians.
"Philip Ruddock and I will be meeting with representatives from Amnesty International in the coming days to discuss the recent events in Indonesia and the broader approach for the group, Mr. Hayes said.
"The recent situation in Indonesia is, while disturbing, not unique. There are many hundreds of people facing the prospect of a similar brutal fate right around the world at this moment.
Mr. Hayes says recent events highlight the need for Australian Parliamentarians to focus their opposition to the death penalty.
"We believe that the death penalty is wrong in all cases, in all countries. We should acknowledge the lives that have been taken through this cruel practice but must use these events to invigorate our movement against capital punishment around the world", Mr. Hayes said.
Mr. Ruddock says that the capacity of the group to effect change should not be downplayed.
"When you have a large group of federal politicians from across the political divide all focused on a particular issue, you’re often able to operate as a very powerful voice both at home and abroad.
"Many of my colleagues have the opportunity to meet with ambassadors, elected officials and foreign dignitaries quite frequently. We can use occasions like these to raise our fundamental opposition to capital punishment – an approach that this group aims to empower", Mr. Ruddock concluded.