8th World Day Against the Death Penalty: USA
The USA is one of the few federalist countries which give the states the power to legislate on the issue of the death penalty. At present there are 15 abolitionist states and 35 retentionist states in the USA, although among retentionist states, 10 have not carried out any executions for at least 10 years.
In recent years, abolitionist measures have be spreading throughout the nation, which is clearly divided on the issue. According to Amnesty International, death sentences in the USA reached a high in 1994 but have dropped over 60 percent in the past decade. In 2009, New Mexico became the 15th state to legislatively abolish the death penalty.
It is hoped that this world day will strengthen the trend towards abolition in the USA and also the trend towards universal abolition. It is an opportunity to publicly oppose the use of this inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment and to support those in the USA who are fighting for its abolition.