Khan calls for universal moratorium on executions

30 April 2007 at 10:24 am | Posted in Amnesty International, Death penalty, Irene Khan, News, Sydney Peace Prize | Leave a comment

A world without death penalty is possible, said Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan. But she added key goverments will have to show political leadership to achieve that.

“Amnesty International is calling for a universal moratorium on executions. Only six countries — Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, the USA and China — were responsible for 91 percent of all executions carried out in 2006. These hard core executioners are isolated and out of tune with global trends,” said Ms Khan last week at the launch of the Annual Death Penalty Statistics in Rome.

Rome was chosen as the report launch location because the Italian government is spearheading a campaign at the United Nations for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. It is also becasue the Italian government is expected to rally a global coalition against the death penalty, according to an IPS report.  

There are signs of an increasing trend towards abolition of the death penalty, with 128 countries now having abolished the death penalty. The rates of death sentences and executions also fell by 25 percent in 2006.

Despite such encouraging trends, the statistics still show that govenments continue to disregard basic human rights.

“The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It is arbitrary, it has proven ineffective in reducing crime and it perpetuates a climate of violence in which justice can never be truly achieved,” said the 2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient. “The death penalty must be abolished and a universal moratorium will be an important step forward”, she said.

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