There is strong and growing international consensus that the death penalty cannot be enforced without inevitably violating the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The number of countries that have abolished the death penalty completely for all crimes in all circumstances has tripled over the last quarter of a century and now stands at 103; six others have abolished it for all ordinary crimes and 31 are acknowledged as ‘abolitionist in practice’: 140 countries in all. Only 39 countries have carried out an execution in the last 10 years—most of them very infrequently—whereas the number at the beginning of 1989 was 101. Last year only 25 out of 197 countries carried out an execution. The international trend is clear.
On the 14th World Day against the Death Penalty, we urge political leaders in all countries that still retain the death penalty, whether they currently carry out executions or not, to take the steps necessary to join the ranks of the majority of nations that have done away completely with the death penalty.