UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday, February 27, that the death penalty has no place in the twenty-first century. He was addressing the seventh World Congress against the Death Penalty, in Brussels.
“I oppose it in all circumstances. And I am proud that my home country, Portugal, was one of the first to abolish capital punishment 150 years ago,” Guterres said.
Last December, the General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was co-sponsored by 121 States — the highest number ever.
Guterres added that the practice is still employed despite its cruelty, despite the myth that it deters crime and despite the knowledge that innocent people have been — and may continue to be — put to death.
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“As Secretary-General of the United Nations, alongside the majority of Member States and civil society, I will continue to advocate for the universal abolishment of capital punishment. Together we can bring about this change,” he said.
Meanwhile, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the UN opposes the use of the death penalty, everywhere, and in all circumstances.
Worldwide, some 170 States, with a variety of legal systems, traditions, cultures and religions, have either abolished the death penalty in law, or do not carry out executions in practice.
At the end of last year, 121 States – the highest ever number – voted in favour of the General Assembly resolution for a moratorium on use of the death penalty.
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