August 2, 2018: Pope Francis declares "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person".
Even Saint Pope John-Paul II [1978-2005] appealed to abolish the death penalty calling it "cruel and unnecessary".
July 1, 2019: Sri Lanka reinstates the death penalty
March 25, 2021: Virginia Governor Northam signed a bill to abolish the death penalty. Said the repeal would stop a "machinery of death". First Southern US state to do so. Virginia has executed more people than any other state except Texas since capital punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1976. Since then, the vast majority of executions have taken place in the Southern US states that made up the former slave-owning Confederacy. Executions are still authorised in 27 states across the US, though several have enacted a moratorium on carrying the punishment out.
It is the small injustices that lead to the big ones -- the ultimate being the taking of a person's life. The government must not be allowed to get away with wrongly charging people or wrongly convicting them. Police cannot be allowed to charge people without evidence, to search persons or homes without warrants. Warrants should not be obtained on fraudulant evidence. These violations are increasing in Canada, as crime rates increase and the police are under pressure to bend the rules. But we must keep in mind that if the law is to be respected, it must be followed by everyone including police, prosecutors and lawyers. inJusticebusters is dedicated to busting injustices where we find them, however small or large.
Killing someone is the ultimate -- an undoable injustice. inJusticebusters concentrate on cases which have not gone quite that far -- in the hopes of preventing undoable injustice. Free speech is the best method we know to rally intelligent thought from human to human. -- Sheila Steele
In Canada, we take some pride in the value we place on human life. We spend a lot of money preserving the basic rights of killers like David Threinen Clifford Olsen, Robert Pickton, Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. There is a growing section of the public who see this as a waste of money and it is probably true that most Canadians would not spend a lot of emotion grieving if these monsters were put to death.
However, we can take some pride that this same system kept David Milgaard alive and he was ultimately exonerated. There is little doubt that if David Milgaard had found himself in the same set of circumstances in the U.S. he would have been executed long before his mother got anybody's attention.
Right now there are dozens of David Milgaards on death row.
Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Chad, China, Comoros, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Qatar, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka reinstates death penalty 2019/07/01
The number of countries which no longer apply the death penalty continues to grow yet the global execution count is also on the rise.
The most fundamental human right - inalienable and also anchored in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights - is the right to live. This right, of course, is often violated by conflict, terrorism, and crime, and it is often violated by the law.
In 2015, 25 states legally executed at least 1,634 human beings.
Those numbers, from Amnesty International, represent a setback in the global fight to abolish the death penalty. In 2015 the number of executions was higher than it had been at any time in the previous quarter century. And, sadly, one must assume that a great many more people lost their lives at the hands of executioners. Many countries simply refuse to release such data, treating executions like state secrets.
Forty-six offenses are punishable by death in China, which does not let on how many people are killed there annually, though the total is likely more than in the rest of the world combined.
Ninety percent of the executions recorded in Amnesty International's numbers are carried out in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. And it's not just an antiquated Old Testament principle like "an eye for an eye" that will get you killed.
Adultery, blasphemy, and homosexuality have all been used to justify the death penalty in such places. And, if that were not bad enough, one cannot even begin to speak of fairness in the judicial proceedings that lead to executions.
Other nonviolent offenses, such as drug dealing or smuggling, are also punished by death on a massive level. For instance, two-thirds of the thousand or so executions carried out in Iran last year were related to drug offenses. But such measures have done little to stem the flow of drugs into the country. That favoured argument of death penalty supporters - that executions have a deterrent effect - simply doesn't hold true.
One of the biggest disappointments in the run-up to the UN General Assembly's special session on the world drug problem in New York in April 2016 is that the European Union was unable to push through its calls for abolishing the death penalty for such crimes. Drafts of the conference's closing document contain no references to that. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt and others maintain their position that the death penalty is a judiciary issue for individual sovereign states and not a topic for drug conferences. Belarus clings to the death penalty in Europe.
The United States, which claims political and moral superiority over many other nations, executed, on average, one inmate every two weeks in 2015. The death penalty has its roots in eras in which people were concerned with revenge, not justice. It is senseless, gruesome and degrading; executions lead to brutal societies.
The majority of countries around the world have realized that state-sanctioned killing is not the answer to murder or other crimes showing that justice and criminal law have no need for executioners.
Four countries, Republic of Congo, Fiji, Madagascar, and Surinam did so in 2015.
The Philippines officially abolished the death penalty in 2006 but President Rodrigo Duterte has made a case for the restoration of the death penalty and is openly encouraging the population to summarily kill all drug addicts and pushers: no arrests, no charges, no trial, no judgment.
It is easy to see how this can be of some advantage in a dispute with a neighbour. One simply has to suspect the neighbour of being a drug addict and/or pusher and summarily kill that person no questions asked.
Sri Lanka has ended a moratorium on the death penalty and hired two hangmen. In an interview with DW, Human Rights Watch's Meenakshi Ganguly says the government's move is regressive.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced an end to a moratorium on the death penalty that has been in force in the South Asian country since 1976. The president also said he had signed the death warrants for four drug convicts and they would be executed soon.
Sirisena's office has said the president wanted the hangings to send a powerful message to anyone engaged in the illegal drugs trade. Sri Lanka has been grappling with drug-related crimes for years and the country is believed to be a transit hub for drug peddlers.
The decision to reinstate capital punishment, however, has been criticized by human rights groups as well as the international community. Sirisena said he had rejected a telephone appeal by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to reconsider his push to reintroduce the death penalty.
Sirisena also accused the European Union of interfering in the internal affairs of his country, saying that EU diplomats had threatened him with tariffs if Sri Lanka went ahead with the executions.
Injusticebusters.org Editorial: Well why not interfere with tariffs?
DW interview with Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch:
Sri Lanka's decision to issue death warrants is extremely disturbing.
President Sirisena renewed calls for the death penalty following a visit to the Philippines in January, during which he called President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs" an "example to the world". A decision to restore the death penalty because he was inspired by the Philippines' murderous "drug war" may be the worst possible justification and a violation of international law.
Apart from the fact that the death penalty is inhumane, it is also irreversible. To reinstate the practice, if motivated by a political calculus, is particularly irresponsible.
President Sirisena believes that his decision will be popular because he is acting against drug traffickers, but he needs to understand that the alleged deterrent effect of the death penalty has been repeatedly debunked.
Where the death penalty is permitted, international human rights law limits the death penalty to "the most serious crimes", typically crimes resulting in death or serious bodily harm. The UN Human Rights Committee and the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions have concluded that the death penalty for drug offenses fails to meet the condition of "most serious crime".
In September 2015, the UN high commissioner for human rights reaffirmed that "persons convicted of drug-related offences … should not be subject to the death penalty."