Following the initiative taken by the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) in the Mexican Parliament to re-introduce the death penalty, the European Green Party has withdrawn its recognition of the PVEM as a Green Party.
EGP Co-Spokesperson Philippe Lamberts said, "The withdrawal of recognition of the PVEM as a Green Party under our common Charter is a logical consequence of the action taken by them in their attempt to re-introduce the death penalty into Mexican law. The PVEM has put itself outside the broad and diverse family of the Global Greens by acting in breach of a basic value which we all share.
"The rejection of the death penalty is shared by all Green Parties also in countries where it is still in force. The PVEM has made itself an unacceptable exception and accordingly we do not consider it as part of the Green political family any more. Formally, the Mexican Green Party belongs to the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas. The EGP will ask that Federation to act accordingly." (see below for reply letter to Mexican Greens)
Brussels, 10 th February 2009 - To the Partido Verde Ecologista de México, We thank you for your quick answer to our letter concerning capital punishment sent December 11th, 2008. We have carefully read your different arguments answering our concerns on the position adopted by your party on the death penalty and we would like to respond to them.
First, we note that you consider our reaction to your position as "anti-democratic" and "colonial"; this is a position which we simply cannot accept and do not recognize ourselves. The Global Greens are indeed in the first place an organization of the continental Green federations and of their respective member parties. In that perspective, it is the responsibility of each Federation to deal with its member parties, including in case one of them infringes on our common Global Green Charter as adopted in Canberra in 2001.
However, this, may not prevent one of the continental Federations, in this case the European Green Party, to express a political position about a party belonging to the Global Greens when it considers that some of its positions constitute a clear and open violation of the Charter which states the main principles defining the Greens, and agreed upon by ALL Green Parties – no matter where they come from - in Canberra. Doing so cannot and should not be interpreted as "violating the sovereignty" of the concerned Federation.
That is also the reason why we are keeping the Federation of the Americas fully informed of our exchanges and have been doing so even before they became public. Now, on the facts of the matter. While we do acknowledge the critical situation Mexico is facing regarding organized crime, the Greens' opposition to the death penalty is one of principle. Even should it be proven – and this is not the case – that it would be an effective way of combating crime, the Greens would not accept it as a penalty. Our rejection of torture is based on similar grounds.
We might want to refer you to the Italian example, a country that has been affected by organized crime for decades. The Italian justice system had to change and improve its performance in order to fight against the Mafia. Even if the problem is still there a lot of relevant successes have been reached without even thinking to reintroduce death penalty.
We would like to add a few words about the comparison that has been made in your letter between the position of European Greens to de-penalize abortion and the refusal of the death penalty. We do acknowledge that questions implying life and death are sensitive ones, indeed, and let it be clear that the European Green Party has never advocated unrestricted abortion rights. However, there is a profound gap between supporting abortion and criminalizing it, regardless of the stage of pregnancy – which was the case in most European countries until a couple of decades ago.
We consistently opposed criminalizing it as we believed – and still do – that this attitude actually made the situation worse, if not altogether dramatic for the women concerned. In that respect, we have advocated decriminalization under restrictions as far as the stage of pregnancy is concerned. While there are philosophical arguments as to when a foetus has to be considered as a living human being, there are no such arguments insofar as living adults are concerned, hence our total opposition to the death penalty.
Therefore, while we obviously respect the right of people – including Mexican citizens – and political parties to have opinions and values that differ from those Greens have adopted, we would like to assert our right to withdraw our recognition as part of the Green political family to a party who actively supports the re-instatement of the capital penalty. This is because it no longer is in accordance with the Global Green Charter which defines the Greens' identity and which has been voted unanimously in Canberra in 2001, in the presence of the PVEM's delegates.
In that sense, our previous letter has no intent to impose whatever point of view on your party and on its members, rather simply to dissociate the European Green Party from the positions that the PVEM has adopted.
Ulrike Lunacek Monica Frassoni Philippe Lamberts
EGP Co-Spokesperson Co-President EGP Co-Spokesperson Green Group in the EP