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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs