There Was A Huge Increase In The Use Of The Death Penalty Last Year
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There Was A Huge Increase In The Use Of The Death Penalty Last Year

By Anna Dannreuther, Writer 6 Apr 2016
Institutions

Amnesty International has released its Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions for the year of 2015.

It finds a 54% increase in the use of the death penalty worldwide from the year before.

The death penalty was abolished in 1965 in Great Britain and in 1973 in Northern Ireland. As RightsInfo stated in our Right to Life Explainer, the UK has also ratified Protocols 6 and 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which abolish the death penalty across Europe.

The UK Government has vowed to opposed the death penalty in all circumstances and has expressed concern over the increased use of the death penalty in some countries.

Amnesty’s report found the world’s  main executioners to be Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Iran continued to execute juvenile offenders, which it is prohibited from doing under international law.  In total, over 1,364 people were found to have been put to death by state authorities last year.

Amnesty was concerned by the fact that these elevated numbers did not include China, which it considers to likely be the world’s top executioner. This is largely because China classifies data on the use of the death penalty as a state secret.

Amnesty International UK’s press release on the report states:

The death penalty is always a violation of human rights. We oppose it in every case.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General commented:

The rise in executions last year is profoundly disturbing. Not for the last 25 years have so many people been put to death by states around the world. In 2015 governments continued relentlessly to deprive people of their lives on the false premise that the death penalty would make us safer.

In 2015, Suriname, Madagascar, Fiji and Congo all removed the possibility of the death penalty from their national laws. The Governor of the US state of Pennsylvania established a moratorium on executions in February 2015, with 18 US states having already fully abolished the death penalty.

The UK Government has worked closely with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the abolition of the death penalty, for which it has funded lobbying visits to both Suriname and the USA.

For more on the right to life and why it matters see our poster on the Right to Life, and Explainer on Why the Right to Life Matters.

About The Author

Anna Dannreuther Writer

Anna Dannreuther is a barrister at Field Court Chambers practising in public, employment, and commercial law. She is a trans ally and has worked extensively on human rights issues, including at the European Court of Human Rights and with NGO partners.

Anna Dannreuther is a barrister at Field Court Chambers practising in public, employment, and commercial law. She is a trans ally and has worked extensively on human rights issues, including at the European Court of Human Rights and with NGO partners.