Record vote in support of a universal moratorium on the death penalty

Press release
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FIDH welcomes the adoption of the UNGA resolution to establish a global moratorium on the death penalty, adopted on 18 December 2014, by an increased number of States.

"Today, a vast majority of States confirm their commitment to abolish the death penalty worldwide. This vote is an important milestone on the global path towards abolition of this cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment. FIDH calls on the opposing minority to join the movement of history towards the abolition of the capital punishment said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President, member of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty

Adopted since 2007 every 2 years, the Moratorium resolution is voted by a regular larger number of States. This year, the resolution was adopted by a record number of 117 votes in favour (+ 6 compared to 2012) and the lowest of the votes against, 38 (- 3 compared to 2012), and 34 abstentions (like in 2012). 

New votes in favour came from Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Niger and Suriname. Other positive elements came from Bahrain, Myanmar and Uganda moving from opposition to abstention. On the contrary Papua New Guinea went from abstention to a vote against the resolution. 

« Supported by countries from all regions in the world, this resolution clearly states that the death penalty is a human rights violation, that no religion, or other believes could support. This wide support should strengthen the worldwide abolitionnist movement », added Karim Lahidji.

The resolution, not legally binding, carries political and moral weight, in support of all efforts by States, the international community and civil society towards the abolition of the death penalty

As a direct consequence of the activities organised around the world day against the death penalty on 10 October 2014 on death penalty and mental illness, the resolution calls for the first time States to oppose capital punishment of people with mental and intellectual disabilities.

The UNGA calls to respect international standards in relation to safeguards guaranteeing 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.

During the debate in the 3rd Committee, on 21 November, an amendment put forward by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States, among others, to add a clause to the resolution recognizing the sovereign rights of individual countries, was rejected.

As of today 137 countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

FIDH and its 178 member ogansations will continue to oppose the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances and work for its global abolition.

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