Death penalty: record number of countries calls for moratorium

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Death penalty: record number of countries call for moratorium

NEW YORK, DECEMBER 16 – A record number of countries today supported a key UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. 123 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of a new resolution at the UNGA plenary session in New York. 38 countries were against while 24 abstained. In 2018, 121 member states approved the moratorium.

This is the eighth time UNGA has adopted a resolution calling for a stop on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty, since 2007. The number of states voting in favour of these resolutions has risen from 104 in 2007 to 121 in 2018 and 123 in 2020. Italy has been a strong supporter of the moratorium since the first resolution was adopted 13 years ago. 

UNGA resolutions carry considerable moral and political weight. The continued consideration of resolutions on this issue has ensured that abolishing the death penalty remains a human rights priority for the international community. 

The latest resolution was proposed by Mexico and Switzerland on behalf of an Inter-Regional Task Force of member states and co-sponsored by 77 states. Among the 123 member states who voted in favour of the resolution today, Djibouti, Jordan, Lebanon and South Korea supported the resolution for the first time. Congo (Republic of), Guinea, Nauru and the Philippines, which voted against the 2018 resolution, also supported the call today, while Yemen and Zimbabwe switched from opposition to abstention.

The number of states voting for UN resolutions on halting executions worldwide continues to grow, signalling that consensus is building towards ending the death penalty once and for all. In 2007, the first time a resolution on a moratorium for executions was adopted by UNGA under an Italian proposal, only 104 states voted in favour. When the UN was founded in 1945 only eight of the then 51 UN member states had abolished the death penalty. (@OnuItalia)