Nations of the world to vote on fresh moratorium resolution

International standards

on 8 November 2008

Last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on all nations to establish a moratorium on the death penalty. The issue is once again on the agenda, and the World Coalition is pushing for an even larger majority in favour of a new text establishing a moratorium in this year’s vote.
According to Martin Macpherson, director of Amnesty International’s legal programme, “another resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, adopted with strong cross-regional support at the 63rd session of the UNGA and calling for regular reporting by the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the call for a moratorium, would represent an important reaffirmation of the recommendations contained in Resolution 62/149”.
Amnesty International and other World Coalition organisations have been making contact with representatives from countries whose votes may prove crucial in improving last year’s voting record – 104 in favour, 54 against and 29 abstentions.

Meetings from Monrovia to Seoul, Paris and New York

American law professor Speedy Rice discussed the upcoming vote with Liberian officials in Monrovia in September; he also travelled to Seoul on October 10, World Day Against the Death Penalty.
In Paris, a World Coalition delegation recently met French diplomats to exchange information on the UN resolution. France co-ordinates European positions as current president of the European Union.
In late October, Amnesty International organised a seminar to coincide with the debate on the resolution in the General Assembly. Two judges from Japan and Jordan and two prosecutors from Nigeria and the US spoke about their experience in death penalty cases to UN diplomats, journalists and NGOs in New York.

Trend toward abolition “continues” – UN Secretary General

As planned in last year’s resolution, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released a report on the implementation of the moratorium in September. The document is based on information submitted by 53 abolitionist and retentionist UN member states.
“The solid and long-standing trend towards global abolition of the death penalty identified in previous reports of the Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council and to the Human Rights Council continues”, the report concluded. It also found that “the establishment of a moratorium on the application of the death penalty is a key step towards eventual de jure abolition of this form of punishment”.



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