States that retain and use the death penalty are increasingly isolated and should take steps to join the global trend, Amnesty International said today on the 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty.
2017 marks 40 years since Amnesty International fostered the landmark Declaration of Stockholm, the first international abolitionist manifesto on the death penalty. Issued in 1977, the Declaration called on all governments to totally abolish the punishment:
“When the state uses its power to end the life of a human being, it is likely that no other right is inviolate. The state cannot give life, it should not presume to take it away.”
At the time of the declaration, only 16 countries — eight in the Americas and eight in Europe — had fully abolished the death penalty in law and practice. That number now stands at 105. A further 36 countries have either repealed the death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder or effectively stopped using the punishment though it remains in their laws.