World Day Against the Death Penalty statement

“It is the longstanding policy of the UK Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. There is no evidence of its deterrent value and any miscarriage of justice is irreversible and irreparable.

“Since the Government launched its Strategy for Abolition of the Death Penalty in October 2011, we have continued to take action against our three goals, and taken all appropriate opportunities to raise the issue with our priority countries. Our work has also included support for civil society projects in different parts of the world, which are helping gather support for worldwide abolition.

“There have been several positive developments over the last year: I was particularly pleased to note the ratification by Benin, in July this year, of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty. I was also pleased to see the State of Connecticut repealing the death penalty in April this year, becoming the 17th US state to do so.

“At the same time I am concerned about the sharp increase in executions during the past twelve months in some of those countries which still apply and implement the death penalty. Later this year, the United Nations General Assembly will for the fourth time debate a resolution which advocates a worldwide moratorium on the use of the death penalty. I would particularly encourage those states which have a long-standing moratorium in force, to consider joining the growing world trend against the death penalty and to vote in favour of the Resolution.”