Thursday, July 30, 2009

Progress and regression on the death penalty

China has decided to reduce the use of the death penalty to "an extremely small number". It's slow progress, but progress all the same - and given the massive use of capital punishment in China, we should take all the progress we can get (and then ask for more).

Unfortunately, its not all good news. Following some particularly heinous murders, the Papua New Guinea government is apparently planning to enforce its death penalty (on the books since 1991, but never used). If they actually do it, it will be the first execution in the South Pacific in over 25 years. Human rights groups are lobbying the PNG government, but New Zealand could also help, by speaking out against the reinstatement of the death penalty at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns this weekend. If you'd like to encourage them to do this, I suggesting emailing John Key and Murray McCully and ask them politely to do what they can to convince Papua New Guinea not to regress to barbarism.