Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UN to vote on death penalty moratorium

The United Nations General Assembly is expected on Thursday to vote on a draft resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, reported Al Jazeera.
The resolution was first adopted by the General Assembly in 2007; this is the fifth time member states will vote. On Nov. 21, 114 of the 193 U.N. member states voted “yes” on the draft resolution at a session of the Third Committee, which is responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural issues. Thirty-six countries opposed the resolution.
The U.S. has repeatedly lodged “no” votes alongside countries with troubling human rights records — including China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the top four executing countries in 2013. The United States ranked fifth.
The draft resolution calls on states to suspend executions, with a view to abolition, and asks that countries restrict their use of capital punishment, share information about the sentencing and executions they carry out and respect international standards to protect people facing execution.
The resolution, which is nonbinding, “is a very powerful symbolic gesture for the United Nations General Assembly,” said Chiara Sangiorgio, a death penalty expert at New York–based NGO Amnesty International.
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