Monday, October 10, 2016

10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty


Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 93 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that.

This year's theme is the use of the death penalty for terrorism. 65 countries have the death penalty for terrorism, but executions create martyrs. Combined with the inherent injustice of the death penalty and the use of terrorism offences for political purposes, this is both morally unjustifiable and hugely counterproductive, feeding terrorism instead of stopping it.

The good news is that we are winning the long-term battle: Nauru and Guinea abolished the death penalty this year, and Fiji, Suriname and Congo abolished it last year. In our corner of the world, Papua New Guinea and Tonga are the only holdouts, and there hasn't been an execution since 1982. At this rate it will still take half a century before the death penalty is abolished, but the civilised world is expanding.