Let’s help Amnesty International abolish the death penalty
Capital punishment has been formally abolished in Australia. It was last used in 1967, when Ronald Ryan was hanged in Victoria. Ryan was the last of 114 people executed in the 20th century and prior to his execution Queensland and New South Wales had already abolished the death penalty for murder.
Although the global trend towards abolition remained strong, 2012 saw a disappointing resumption of executions in some countries. The total number of confirmed executions was 682, two more than in 2011. Executions were recorded in 21 countries, the same number as 2011. These countries include Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, and even the United States.
The need to abolish the death penalty
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice.
It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The death penalty lacks the deterrent effect which is commonly referred to by its advocates. As recently stated by the General Assembly of the United Nations, “there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty” (UNGA Resolution 65/206).
Alternatives to the death penalty
The purpose of our criminal justice system is to deter crime, rehabilitate convicts, and incapacitate hardened criminals. Philosophically speaking, life in prison serves these functions better than the death penalty. Life imprisonment is certainly a deterrent — in fact, it may be worse than death itself. Life in prison allows for rehabilitation, whereas death is final.
Amnesty International works towards abolition of the death penalty
Amnesty International holds a few strong beliefs about the death penalty
The death penalty:
- denies the possibility of rehabilitation and reconciliation.
- promotes simplistic responses to complex human problems, rather than pursuing explanations that could inform positive strategies.
- prolongs the suffering of the murder victim’s family, and extends that suffering to the loved ones of the condemned prisoner.
- diverts resources and energy that could be better used to work against violent crime and assist those affected by it.
- is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it. It is an affront to human dignity.
- should be abolished. Now.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.
Supporting Amnesty International
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What can we do?
You can join with Amnesty International to abolish the death penalty by signing the petitions available on their website: