The world moves closer towards universal abolition of the death penalty
On 11 November 2010, the United Nations General Assembly’s Human Rights (Third) Committee for the third time called upon states to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The resolution was adopted by 107 votes, with 38 states voting against the resolution and 36 abstaining. For the first time Russia was a co-signatory to the resolution.
“The results are encouraging for abolitionists worldwide,” said Jacqueline Macalesher, Penal Reform International’s Anti-Death Penalty Project Manager. “This resolution received more support than in previous years, and less direct opposition, indicating a growing global movement towards abolishing this cruel and arbitrary sentence and commitment to upholding the right to life.” continued Macalesher.
Today, 136 of the 192 UN Member States have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. However the USA, despite 15 of its states having abolished and 19 having not executed anyone since 2009, remained in the company of China, Iran, Iraq and Singapore, in continuing to vote against the moratorium resolution.
Abolitionists expect the resolution to be endorsed by the General Assembly at its plenary session in December.
Penal Reform International urges all UN MemberStates who retain the death penalty to immediately establish a moratorium on executions, and take the necessary steps towards full abolition.
PRI’s current programme of work on the abolition of the death penalty focuses on supporting governments and other stakeholders in progressing towards abolition and implementation of human rights standards in criminal justice systems, particularly concerning the treatment of death row, life and long-term prisoners. The programme of work is being carried out in five regions: the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Central Asia and the Great Lakes region of East Africa.
The programme is supported by the European Union’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).