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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has branded the U.S. as uncivilized for still using the death penalty.
Speaking at the "Virgin Disruptors" event in London on Monday, the billionaire entrepreneur said he was travelling to America this week to campaign against the death penalty, ahead of a referendum in California next month, which could see the end of the punishment in the state.
"America...you can't really be a civilized nation if you are still employing the death penalty. Europe got rid of it 70 years ago and I would say Europe is now civilized. America has got to rid themselves of it," Branson said.
The billionaire was speaking on stage about "purpose" while doing business. He said that an entrepreneur's business is "changing the world", and with that comes wealth which brings responsibility. Branson urged business people to take on the world's major issues.
"If we can get every single business in the world to take that attitude, we can get on top of almost every problem in this world," he said.
It's not the first time Branson has spoken out against the death penalty. He has written numerous blog posts on the topic and earlier this year, began a campaign called #DeathPenaltyFail, a series of short films to cast light on the punishment system in the U.S.
Branson also highlighted the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda, and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, in which hundreds of people have been killed for taking illegal substances. He said public figures should take an active role in campaigning against these acts.
"We've got to use our influence to try to try to speak out and try to bring some decency to countries," Branson said.