Monday, October 10, 2011

10/10: The death penalty in the Pacific

The South Pacific is virtually a death penalty-free zone. The last execution in the region took place in Tonga in 1982, and almost all countries have abolished the death penalty. But four of them - Tonga, Fiji, Nauru and Papua New Guinea - still have it on their books, and one of them, Papua New Guinea, is still actively handing down death sentences (though not yet carrying them out).

This is something that needs to change. And New Zealand, with our close links to the Pacific, is in an ideal position to help change it.

If you're in Auckland, then Amnesty International are out and about in Vulcan Lane this afternoon, collecting signatures for a letter to the heads of those four governments asking them to abolish capital punishment. Alternatively, you could email the Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, and ask him to work towards this goal. While none of these countries seem keen on restarting executions any time soon, it would be better if their outdated and immoral laws were repealed.

Update: You can also urge pacific leaders to repeal their death penalty here.