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FORUM-ASIA welcomes the adoption of the Resolution for a Global Moratorium on the death penalty

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On Tuesday, 19 December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution calling for a global moratorium on death penalty. FORUM-ASIA welcomes this adoption and encourages Asian governments to move towards the abolition of death penalty.

FORUM-ASIA welcomes the adoption of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) calling for a global moratorium on death penalty. The General Assembly adopted the resolution on 19 December 2007, and is considered an important step towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. FORUM-ASIA hopes this landmark resolution will prompt Asian governments still practicing the death penalty to take action and move towards its abolition.

Eleven countries in Asia still impose the death penalty: Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Human rights groups have been campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty since it is considered as one of the gross violations of human rights – particularly, the right to life. The resolution had the support of 104 UN Member States. Fifty-four Member States voted against the resolution, including two from Asia: Singapore and Japan. Interestingly, Japan just recently executed three murder convicts on 7 December, amid the intense debate over this resolution since its proposal last month. FORUM-ASIA considers this move to be an affront against the international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.

The UNGA resolution calls on all countries imposing the death penalty to “establish a moratorium on execution with a view to abolishing the death penalty”. The resolution likewise states that “there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty’s deterrent value and that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the death penalty’s implementation is irreversible and irreparable”.

FORUM-ASIA urges Asian governments that still impose the death penalty to implement this resolution and take necessary provisions to abolish death penalty from their legislation. FORUM-ASIA further urges these countries to ratify and implement immediately the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-OP2) which aims at the abolition of the death penalty. Only Nepal, Timor-Leste and the Philippines are State Parties to ICCPR-OP2.

FORUM-ASIA views this resolution for the global moratorium as vital in the promotion and protection of human rights in Asia.

For more information, please contact the Human Rights Defenders Programme at [email protected]