Academic Article

Efforts towards abolition of the death penalty: Challenges and prospects

By Death Penalty Research Unit (DPRU), University of Oxford, on 5 February 2024

Trend Towards Abolition

Published in December 2023.

This paper reflects on the role of international human rights treaties in promoting universal abolition and progressive restriction of the death penalty. It suggests that over the past quarter of a century a ‘new human rights dynamic’ has aimed to generate universal acceptance that however it is administered, the death penalty violates the human rights of all citizens exposed to it. Nevertheless, defences of capital punishment based on principles of national sovereignty are engrained in some parts of the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. The human rights project struggles to make inroads into such jurisdictions where political will is opposed to abolition, and trenchant protection of sovereignty threatens the very universality of these rights.

  • Document type Academic Article
  • Themes list Trend Towards Abolition