INTERNATIONAL: United Nations Resolution Shows Increasing Support for International Moratorium

In November, a preliminary resolution was presented to the United Nations General Assembly for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty around the world. Panama, the European Union, Paraguay, Philippines, East Timor, Rwanda, Mozambique and Russia were among the resolution’s sponsors. Other co-sponsors included nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The resolution received 107 votes in favor, 38 against and 36 abstentions. In 2007, a similar resolution was adopted by the General Assembly, receiving 104 “yes” votes, 54 “no” and 29 abstentions. The increase in the number of supportive votes and the decline in negative votes (from 54 to 38) are indicative of an international trend away from the death penalty. The United States joined China, India and other nations in voting against the resolution. In recent years, China has consistently had the greatest number of executions in the world, with the U.S. being among the top five countries in that category. In 2009, the U.S. carried out 52 executions. UPDATE: The final vote on the resolution occurred on Dec. 21, 2010: 109 countries voted for the resolution (+3 votes from prior resolution), 41 voted against (-5 votes), 35 abstained and 7 were absent. (World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Newsletter, January 2011).

(“US Votes Against Moratorium on Death Penalty,” RTT News, November 12, 2010). See International.