Amnesty International and the Death Penalty

ONG (Organización no Gubernamental) # Right to life. Executions

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Amnesty International and the Death Penalty (1997)

Amnesty International - Against the Death Penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violates the right to life.

Execution is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent.

The death penalty has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments.

Execution is an act of violence and violence tends to provoke violence. The imposition and infliction of the death penalty is brutalising to all who are involved in the process.

The death penalty is frequently used as an instrument of repression against opposition, racial, ethnic, religious and underprivileged groups.

Death Sentences and Executions

During 1996 at least 4,272 prisoners are known to have been

executed in 39 countries and 7,107 people were sentenced to

death in 76 countries. These figures include only cases known to Amnesty

International (AI);; the true figures are certainly higher.

As in previous years, a small number of countries accounted for the vast

majority of executions recorded. AI received reports of 3,500 executions in China, 167 executions in Ukraine, 140 executions in the Russian Federation and 110 executions in Iran. These four

countries alone accounted for 92 per cent of all executions recorded by AI world-wide in 1996. As in previous years, a small number of countries accounted for the vast majority of executions recorded. AI received reports of 3,500 executions in China, 167 executions in Ukraine, 140 executions in the Russian Federation and 110 executions in Iran. These four countries alone accounted for 92 per cent of all executions recorded by AI world-wide in 1996. Progress Towards World-wide Abolition. Over 25 countries and territories have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes or for all crimes since 1989. They include Andorra, Angola, Belgium, Cambodia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mauritius, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal,

New Zealand, Paraguay, Romania, Sao Tomé, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland. International Agreements to Abolish the Death Penalty (see Death Penalty News December 1996). The number of countries joining international treaties against the death penalty continues to grow. The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty has been ratified by 29 states. Four other states have signed the protocol, indicating their intention to become parties to it at a later date.

Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the abolition of the death penalty has been ratified by 24 states and signed by six others.

The Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty has been ratified by four states and signed by three others.

Use of the Death Penalty Against Juveniles

International human rights treaties prohibit anyone under 18 years old at the time of the crime being sentenced to death. Nevertheless five countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA

and Yemen. The majority of known executions of juvenile offenders has been in the USA six since 1990).

The Death Penalty in the USA (see the country report on USA: Developments on the Death Penalty in 1996). Prisoners were executed in the USA in 1996 bringing to 358 the total number executed since the use of the death penalty was resumed in 1977. More than 3,000 prisoners were under sentence of death at the end of 1996. 38 of the 50 US states provide for the death penalty in law; it is also provided under US federal military and civilian law.

Methods of execution in the USA are: lethal injection, electric chair,

hanging, firing squad, gas chamber.

Essay writing

The death penalty

“Execution is an act of violence and violence tends to provoke more violence. The execution of someone is making more violent to all who are involved in the process.” “Just think, that if a killer is freed or escapes from a jail he would directly go and kill to the very first person he sees. Maybe he did a rehabilitation, but it never works.” As you can see, people who live in very similar places can have many different ideas about some contemporary issues.

On the one hand, some people say that is not good to live in the same community that killers. They say that the death penalty might show to other criminals that if they don't stop killing other people they could end being executed. The community agrees that rehabilitation is very hard to get and that sometimes by being in jail with this kind of people, their behaviour becomes worse.

On the other hand, they also think that the death penalty is frequently used as an instrument of repression against opposition, racial and underprivileged groups. They think that it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment and that it violates the right to life. “Execution is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent”, complained someone who is against this kind of punishment.

Luckily, over 25 countries and territories have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes or for all crimes in 1989 and the number of countries joining international treaties against the death penalty continues to grow. But five countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old (which is prohibited). To sum up, I think there are more points against the death penalty than in favour of it (although I didn't mention all of them). I don't like the idea of people deciding what to do with other people's lives and that if they are mistaken they can't do anything about it.