UN calls for halt to executions

Published on Amnesty International, 18 December 2007.

The global campaign against the death penalty secured a landmark victory on Tuesday when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the call for a worldwide moratorium (suspension) on executions.

In a landslide result, 104 UN member states voted in favour of the ground-breaking resolution. 54 countries voted against, while there were 25 abstentions.

Amnesty International welcomes this timely resolution, passed at the UN headquarters in New York City, as a clear recognition of the international trend towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty.

A total of 133 countries, from all regions of the world, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice and only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006. 91% of all known executions took place in six countries: China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the USA. Recorded executions worldwide fell by more than 25% in 2006, with a drop from at least 2,148 in 2005 to at least 1,591 …

… “This landmark resolution is a major step towards ending this cruel and inhuman punishment and an important contribution to protecting human rights,” said Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International’s Head of Office at the UN. “The death penalty is inhuman, inherently arbitrary and innocent people are invariably executed”. (full text).

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