Uganda has ended its opposition to a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty. At the UN General Assembly on 21 November 2014, Uganda abstained on the measure, changing after seven years of voting against. The country is one of ten where PRI is working to abolish the death penalty and implement humane alternative sanctions.
Doreen Namyalo Kyazze, who works for PRI’s partner organisation Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) in Uganda, said: ‘We are really pleased to see this positive step by the government of Uganda. We hope that it will mean they move to a more humane position and reverse their plans to enforce a mandatory death penalty for terrorism.’
Uganda was one of seven countries to make a positive change compared to the equivalent vote in 2012. The other countries where PRI and FHRI are working to abolish the death penalty all voted the same way as in 2012, all in favour of a moratorium or abstaining.
This is the fifth resolution by the General Assembly about enacting a global moratorium on the death penalty, previous ones being held in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. While not legally binding, the resolution shows the will of the world community on this topic. Each vote has received more yes votes than the previous one.
Oliver Robertson, PRI’s Death Penalty and Alternatives Project Manager, said: ‘This is a great result, which comes after a lot of hard work by governments and civil society. We hope that countries will continue this positive trend when the General Assembly as a whole votes next month.’
Update: When the General Assembly as a whole voted in December, 117 states voted in favour of a global moratorium, 37 against and 34 abstained. This is the 5th time the UN has voted on the issue and support for a moratorium has increased with each vote, rising from 104 states saying yes in 2004, 111 in 2012 to 117 in 2014.
More about PRI’s work on the death penalty