Overwhelming majority of states support universal moratorium on the death penalty. Belarus abstains
FIDH applauds the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to establish a global moratorium on the death penalty, endorsed by an overwhelming majority on 19 December 2016. A record number of 117 States voted in favor of the text; 40 voted against it, and 31 abstained, fidh.org said.
"This vote confirms that a vast majority of States, from all regions, are committed to abolishing the death penalty. This vote is an important milestone on the path towards the abolition of this cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment worldwide,” FIDH President, Dimitris Christopoulos, said.
Adopted every two years since 2007, the UNGA resolution reflects increasing support for putting an end to the death penalty. In comparison to the 2014 resolution, this year’s text recorded new votes in favor from Guinea, Malawi, Namibia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, and Swaziland. Zimbabwe, which voted against the resolution in 2014, abstained this year.
On a negative note, States that supported the resolution in 2014, such as Equatorial Guinea, Niger, the Philippines, and Seychelles, decided to abstain this year. Burundi, the Maldives, and South Sudan were the only States in the world to change their vote to a "no" this year, going against the growing consensus that the death penalty must be abolished.
“Despite the global move towards abolition, some countries have increased their use of the death penalty in the last two years, particularly Saudi Arabia, Belarus, and several countries in Asia. FIDH calls on the remaining countries that oppose the UNGA resolution to join the majority of the world in the movement towards the abolition of the capital punishment,” FIDH Deputy Secretary General on Death Penalty, Florence Bellivier, said.
The UNGA resolution carries a significant political and moral weight supporting the efforts by States and civil society towards the abolition of the death penalty.
The resolution calls on governments to: respect international standards in relation to safeguards guaranteeing the protection of those facing the death penalty; comply with their obligations to provide consular assistance when foreign nationals are charged with crimes carrying the death penalty; make available relevant information on the use of capital punishment; progressively restrict the use of the death penalty; respect restrictions on the imposition of capital punishment on any individual who was under eighteen years of age at the time of the alleged crime, pregnant women, and people with mental or intellectual disabilities; reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed; and establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
FIDH and its 184 member organizations will continue to oppose the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances and work for its global abolition.
FIDH is a founding member of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty.