This is an enlightened move that should be applauded because the death penalty is a barbaric form of state sanctioned murder.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written an opinion article today that calls for countries around the world to abolish the death penalty. The Nobel Peace Laureate said the death penalty is a violation of human rights.
Tutu's remarks come at a time when the UN's General Assembly is about to consider a draft resolution, sponsored by 72 countries, that calls for a moratorium on executions. The resolution is aimed at building momentum toward a blanket global ban on the death penaly.
In 1994 and 1999 a similar resolution failed to gain the required votes in the UN.
Amnesty International says that 64 countries still employ the death penalty. However, 133 other countries, have either banned the death penalty or do not carry out sentences condeming prisoners to death.
Tutu argues forcefully that the "time has come to abolish the death penalty worldwide, .. the case for abolition becomes more compelling with each passing year."
The Archbishop perhaps makes the most compelling case against the death penalty when he notes that:
"In country after country, it [capital punishment] is used disproportionately against the poor or against racial or ethnic minorities ...
It is often used as a tool of political repression. It is imposed and inflicted arbitrarily. It is an irrevocable punishment, resulting inevitably in the execution of people innocent of any crime. It is a violation of fundamental human rights."
If you are still undecided about the merits of banning the death penalty this Amnesty International article may be helpful.
This post also appears at Indigenous Intelligence Review.