Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Papua New Guinea gives up on the death penalty

Papua New Guinea is one of many states which retain the death penalty on their books, but does not ever apply it. But for the past few years, their government has been pushing to start executions, even voting in 2013 to expand its application to new crimes. Nut now, they've officially given up on those plans:

The reactivation of the death penalty in Papua New Guinea is looking less likely, after Prime Minister Peter O'Neill decided to hold off on the reforms indefinitely.

The PNG government has been actively pursuing a return to capital punishment for some time, mainly in response to the outcry over sorcery related violence and violent attacks on women.

As recently as February 5th, Attorney-General Lawrence Kalinoe indicated that 13 prison inmates on death row had exhausted all avenues of appeal, and were likely to be executed before the end of the year.

But PNG's tough stance actually began to shift last year, with the government mindful of the bad publicity surrounding the execution of two Australians in Indonesia, and subsequent pressure from religious leaders and non-government organisations.

Its good news, but they can obviously do better, by permanently repealing the death penalty from their books and joining the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to outlaw it forever.