We know that, together, we can end the death penalty everywhere.
Every day, people are executed and sentenced to death by the state as punishment for a variety of crimes – sometimes for acts that should not be criminalized. In some countries, it can be for drug-related offences, in others it is reserved for terrorism-related acts and murder.
Some countries execute people who were under 18 years old when the crime was committed, others use the death penalty against people with mental and intellectual disabilities and several others apply the death penalty after unfair trials – in clear violation of international law and standards. People can spend years on death row, not knowing when their time is up, or whether they will see their families one last time.
The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. We opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception - regardless of who is accused, the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.
We holds that the death penalty breaches human rights, in particular the right to life and the right to live free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Both rights are protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948.
Over time, the international community has adopted several instruments that ban the use of the death penalty, including the following:
• The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
• Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the abolition of the death penalty, and Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.
• The Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Although international law says that the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the the most serious crimes, meaning intentional killing, we believes that the death penalty is never the answer.
TORTURE: A GLOBAL CRISIS
We are witnessing a global crisis on torture. Over the last five years, Amnesty International has reported on torture in 141 countries - three-quarters of the world.
For decades, Amnesty has exposed governments who torture. They have supported torture survivors to get justice. They also led international pressure that resulted in the UN Convention against Torture 30 years ago. Today, laws against torture are in place almost everywhere.
Yet you only have to glance at the news to know that laws alone are not enough.
Torture is thriving because rather than respecting the law, many governments are either actively using torture or turning a blind eye.