Since the General Assembly’s first resolution, in 2007, calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, we have seen significant progress. Today, some 170 States have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use. This positive momentum is marred by setbacks and the continuation of practices in violation of the relevant treaties.
I am deeply disturbed that, this year, a number of juvenile offenders have been executed after being sentenced to death, in violation of the relevant treaties. Hundreds of others have been executed without being able to receive legal assistance during criminal proceedings which might have spared them from death penalty, due to being poor, women or from minorities.
In some countries, people are sentenced to death in secret trials, without due process, increasing the potential for error or abuse, as it is sometimes later demonstrated.
On this World Day Against the Death Penalty, I commend the efforts of the great majority of Member States to end the practice, and I call on those remaining to join that majority and put an end to the death penalty now.