News / USA

Amnesty International: Momentum Against Death Penalty Gains Ground

Amnesty International: Momentum Against Death Penalty Gains Ground
Amnesty International: Momentum Against Death Penalty Gains Ground
Nico Colombant

The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International says momentum against the death penalty is gaining ground around the world.  The assessment is part of the group’s data-based report titled Death Sentences and Executions in 2010.

The total number of executions officially recorded by Amnesty International last year was at least 527.

This, however, does not include a very high number of executions in China, as Amnesty’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director Laura Moye explains. "It is difficult given the incredible secrecy that surrounds the death penalty, but from the information that we do have, we are convinced that the numbers are in the thousands," she said.

Despite these numbers, Moye says there are signs of a downward trend in China, like elsewhere in the world.

"It seems that in China there has been a move to limit the number of crimes punishable by death. So some of the white collar crimes have been eliminated - or at least there is a proposal to eliminate them - from the list of capital crimes.  So we are hopeful that China is also heeding the message from the international community and from human rights proponents that the death penalty start to be whittled down toward its elimination," she said.

Amnesty International did not come up with numbers for other Asian countries which carried out executions, including Malaysia, North Korea and Vietnam.

For the countries Amnesty International did include, Iran had the most reported executions with at least 252, followed by Yemen with at least 53, and the United States with 46.

But, as part of its assessment that executions are gradually being reduced worldwide, the report notes that Illinois this month became the 16th U.S. state to abolish the death penalty.

The only country that joined the list of countries abolishing the death penalty in 2010 was the central African nation of Gabon.

Amnesty says 139 countries have now abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.  A human rights campaign is currently under way for another African country, Ghana, to take the death penalty off its own books as it revises its constitution.

Moye says Amnesty International is also closely looking at the volatile situation in the Middle East, where many countries caught up in unrest, including Yemen, Libya and Syria, were in the top ten last year for most executions.

But she says the region also has countries which had very few or no executions. "In the Middle East, while Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, have often been at the top of the list as far as number of executions, there are many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that have not been actively executing its citizens in recent years. That includes Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Western Sahara and the United Arab Emirates as well as Tunisia.  So overall in the region we are seeing signs of progress," she said.

In December, a resolution renewing the United Nations General Assembly call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted with 109 votes in favor, 41 against and 35 abstentions.  This was a slight increase in favor of the moratorium compared to previous votes on the same issue in the world body in recent years.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid