Thursday, October 10, 2019

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, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that.

This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which amounts to a violation of their human rights. Thirty years ago, the world (except for the USA) agreed on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which enshrined the best interests of children as the primary consideration in all actions affecting them. Thirty years on, it is time to admit that the state murdering their parents can never be in the best interests of a child.

In the past year no countries formally abolished the death penalty, though the Gambia commuted all existing death sentences to life imprisonment following its ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. The US states of New Hampshire and Washington also formally abolished their death penalties. Progress may have slowed, but we are still headed in the right direction.