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Halt Executions

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message 1: by Héctor (last edited Jan 07, 2008 04:28PM) (new)

Héctor The global campaign against the death penalty secured a landmark victory on Tuesday when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the call for a worldwide moratorium (suspension) on executions. In a landslide result, 104 UN member states voted in favour of the ground-breaking resolution. 54 countries voted against, while there were 25 abstentions. Amnesty International welcomes this timely resolution, passed at the UN headquarters in New York City, as a clear recognition of the international trend towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty. A total of 133 countries, from all regions of the world, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice and only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006. 91% of all known executions took place in six countries: China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the USA. Recorded executions worldwide fell by more than 25% in 2006, with a drop from at least 2,148 in 2005 to at least 1,591. Although not legally binding, the UN moratorium on executions carries considerable moral and political weight. The resolution is a reminder of member states' commitment to work towards abolition of the death penalty. It is also an important tool to encourage retentionist countries to review their use of the death penalty. Amnesty International calls on countries which still use the death penalty to establish an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing capital punishment. The UN Secretary-General will report to the General Assembly in October 2008 on states' implementation of the resolution. "This landmark resolution is a major step towards ending this cruel and inhuman punishment and an important contribution to protecting human rights," said Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International's Head of Office at the UN. "The death penalty is inhuman, inherently arbitrary and innocent people are invariably executed".

In UN calls for halt to executions by Amnesty International


message 2: by Héctor (new)

Héctor "We've been concerned about the rise in executions in Iran in the past year, and we are very alarmed to learn about the recent case of amputations, which are a particularly cruel and brutal form of punishment," said a specialist on Iran at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, who preferred not to be named. Just last week in southern Iran, the right hands and left feet of five convicted robbers were amputated. The government argues that such severe sentences act as a deterrent, although no correlation between these unpopular punishments and a decrease in crime has been proven. Iranian human rights activists have vigourously protested the new wave of state-sanctioned violence. However, the government has largely ignored domestic and international objections. On Nov. 20, 2007, the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Iran's human rights record and calling upon the Iranian government to eliminate all such cruel practices. The resolution was adopted by 72 votes in favour, with 50 against and 55 abstentions. In its resolution, the General Assembly expressed "its very serious concern" at a range of egregious human rights violations, including torture, flogging, amputations, public executions, stoning, execution of minors, and violent repression of women. "These rulings show a digression of the situation with human rights in Iran," Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, told IPS in a telephone interview from Tehran. "I would like to remind all that such laws and options to exercise such sentences were approved after the Islamic Revolution," she said, adding that, "We have repeatedly asked for a review of Iranian Penal Code. Unfortunately there has been no reaction from the authorities to change those laws." Judicial officials have rarely publicised these sentences because of their unpopular nature. But the more the government insists on expanding the use of Islamic law in Iranian social life, the more radical elements within the judiciary feel free to carry out such punishments. The government argues that human rights is a domestic issue and has nothing to do with other countries and organisations. But activists disagree. "Human rights is an international matter which transcends borders," said Ebadi. "Just as the Iranian government feels justified to express opinions about human rights violations in Palestine and in other countries, other people of the world are also justified in expressing their opinions about human rights violations in Iran."

In Gov't "Leading by Fear", Activists Say by Omid Memarian


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