The theme of the biennial panel is human rights violations related to the use of the death penaltyparticularly in limiting the practice to only the most serious offences.
Volker Türk said this is ultimately about the United Nations Charter’s promise of the highest standards of protection for all people, in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
“opponents to a moratorium on the death penalty say that victims’ rights are at risk of being overlooked; they claim retaliation is the best response,” he said, wondering aloud where humanity lies in vengeance. “Are we not humiliating our societies by taking the life of another human being?”
Criminal justice experts, based on experience around the world, advise that the right response lies in controlling and preventing crimes, he said. They recommend building Operate, human rights-based criminal justice systems That accountability for perpetrators and provide victims and surviving relatives with access to justicesatisfaction and dignity.
The UN rights chief also urged governments to collect, analyze and make public data available about its use and its actual effectiveness.
Challenges and Achievements
Achievements towards the abolition of the death penalty can be seen in different regions of the world, the UN chief of justice said.
Idrissa Sow, chair of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights working group on this issue, said the African Union is considering one design protocol to the Charter on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 26 countries have been completely abolished practice and 14 others apply moratoriums.
“Despite all efforts made, the death penalty remained pronounced on the African continentwith clear risks of judicial errors”, he said, noting that more than half of all African countries still use the death penalty. To address that, he underlined the need to develop partnerships with other national and international institutions to move towards universal abolition.
The government of Malaysia is towards the abolition of the mandatory death penaltysaid Law and Institutional Reform Minister Azalina Othman Said.
“While the death penalty itself was not completely abolished, the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was a balance between what was right and wrong,” she said.
77 countries are short
Mai Sato, associate professor at Monash University’s law school in Australia, said that only two of the 79 countries execution of the death penalty adhere to international standards limiting the practice to the most serious crimes.
Still, the remaining 77 countries did not meet the “most serious” standard, she said 11 countries carry out the death penalty for capital offenses that should not be punishable at all, including adultery, “so-called religious offenses” and same-sex sexual acts.
Achieving a balance
Sarah Belal, head of the non-governmental organization Justice Project Pakistan, noted that nearly 4,000 people are on “death row” there.regarding 30 current capital crimes, stating that each country’s journey towards abolition or compliance with international standards is tied to their own socio-cultural context.
When Pakistan has lifted its seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in 2014 after a devastating terrorist attack, 325 people on death row were executed in 2015, she said. However, years of strategic advocacy and greater involvement in international human rights law”increased the political cost of executions”, she said, noting that no executions have been carried out since 2019.
After the panel presentations, the speakers expressed divergent points of view. Emphasizing the lack of consensus on this issue, some delegates reiterated that there is no international law prohibiting the death penalty. Call to respect for cultural particulars and religious beliefs of everything, some Members said all states have the right to enact their own legislation.
Many speakers expressed support for steps towards abolition. Some deputies said that the death penalty should not be usedby any state to punish those participating in demonstrations and to instill fear in the population.
On the right track
“There is a clear international trend towards abolition of the death penalty.” said José Santos Pais, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, a body of independent experts that oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by states parties.
“States with different legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds, from all regions, have either abolished the death penalty, imposed a moratorium on executions or suspended executions for more than 10 years,” he added.
The UN rights chief reiterated that “until every country abolishes the death penaltythe road to the defense of human dignity will never be complete.”
a record 125 countries had voted in favor in December of the General meetingresolution, in support of a global call for a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its eventual abolition.
“That is a milestone and a sign of real progress,” said Mr Türk. “If we maintain this momentum to eradicate this inhuman punishment once and for all, we will can weave a thread of dignity back into the fabric of our societies.”