Last week, 110 countries voted for a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty in the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee, which addresses human rights issues. This was the largest number of countries to ever support the resolution, which is voted on every two years. In 2010, 107 countries backed the resolution.
In addition to the European Union nations, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Israel supported the non-binding resolution. Sadly, the United States joined Japan, China, Iran, India, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe along with 31 other countries in opposing the resolution, and 36 countries abstained.
France, along with other abolitionist nations, launched a campaign to get the full General Assembly to pass a resolution next month calling for a death penalty moratorium. Although such a resolution would also be non-binding, supporters say that it would help to increase moral pressure to end the death penalty worldwide.
Though it is disappointing that the United States did not join the majority of nations who support this resolution, it is encouraging that more nations are doing so. With growing support for repeal within the U.S. and five states having abolished the death penalty in the in the last five years, the United States is making progress as we move toward joining the ranks of the nearly 150 abolitionist countries.
(Photo courtesy of earthtimes.org)
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