UN moratorium on the death penalty

UN moratorium on the death penalty

The UN Moratorium on the Death Penalty was an Italian proposal supported by several countries and NGOs before the General Assembly of the United Nations.

It calls for general suspension (not abolition) of death penalty throughout the world. Nonetheless, being an action leading to a UN General Assembly resolution, it will not have a binding effect on UN member states. Therefore, states that currently retain the death penalty (e.g. China, the U.S. and Iran) will not be forced by international law to stop carrying out executions; from now on they will only be under a strong moral suasion.

On November 15, the third committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted 99 to 52, with 33 abstentions, in favour of a resolution calling for a global moratorium on capital punishment. [ [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24679&Cr=general&Cr1=assembly "General Assembly committee backs global moratorium against death penalty"] , UN news centre, 15 November 2007]

On December 18 2007 the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of resolution A/RES/62/149, which proclaims a global moratorium on death penalty, with a vast majority (104 vs 54, with 29 abstentions). [ [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/ga10678.doc.htm UNGA press release] , UNGA website] The full text of the resolution has not been published yet. After the resolution's approval, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema declared: "Now we must start working on the abolition of the death penalty". [ [http://www.repubblica.it/2007/09/sezioni/esteri/pena-di-morte2/voto-moratoria/voto-moratoria.html Article from Italian newspaper La Repubblica] , in Italian]

The international campaign

The UN moratorium campaign was launched in Italy by the association [http://www.handsoffcain.info/ Hands Off Cain] affiliated to the Nonviolent Radical Party. [ [http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35043 "NGOs, Italy Seek Worldwide Ban"] , "IPS", 2006] In 1994 a resolution for a moratorium was presented for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by the Italian government. It lost by eight votes. Since 1997, through Italy’s initiative, and since 1999 through the EU’s endeavour, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) has been approving a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to completely abolishing the death penalty, every year. The 2007 vote at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly saw intense diplomatic activity in favour of the moratorium by EU countries, and by the Nonviolent Radical Party itself; Italian anti death penalty Roman Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio joined forces by submitting to the U.N. an appeal and 5,000,000 signatures asking for the moratorium to be passed.


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