Wednesday, November 14, 2007

UN Draft Resolution to Abolish Death Penalty

27 years have passed since Mali last executed a prisoner on death row. Last month a news report briefly noted the intention of the Mali government to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment.

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.


Dione said...

The Death Penalty (My apologies in advance for this being way too long, I will understand not posting it)

Often times I have pondered this issue of the death penalty in its many forms.
A very controversial topic, that is as sensitive as it is complex. I find that when one begins to explore the death penalty issue in an international sense in those many forms, it grows into an explosive complex issue. These are issues again, upon humanity and its good to have people think about these issues and to be at least somewhat aware of them.

So,,, just the act itself- the death penalty I have asked myself if its right or ok to kill another even after they have murdered many. In the most extreme of cases, it seems that the individual(s) are not usually of the remorseful kind, and most of the time they are not good candidates for being rehabilitated while being incarcerated. Then,, in this same instance since this person can’t change ( and the US system hardly makes a worth while effort to rehab those individuals) and they would not get out of jail ever, then they sit there sucking up/ vacuuming up money that could be spent else where. It is astronomical what is spent to house an inmate, and in many cases this cost is more than what many American families bring home a year! When I think about an individual’s life in prison, is their life worth anything? This is the moral question, as well as the other thought that even if their life was worth nothing, simply killing them is perhaps not serving to teach them a lesson, or will they learn there lesson in the after life according to many religions. Then, is it up to people to decide who lives and who dies? I continue to go around with this debate myself, because like it or not there are so many people out there who decide on a daily basis who gets to live or die and they are civilians over seas who are being murdered by the USA Army.

On a national scale, do we, any person, or nation have the right to decide if the death penalty should exist in another country? It may not be our right, yet when I hear about other things that happen in other nations that I believe with my whole being are very wrong I feel that something should be done about it- for humanity’s sake.

I used to be a hard individual, who felt that the death penalty was fine as long as the offender was a serial killer or a child molester/serial killer ect. Think about if someone killed your mother or someone you really loved. I have often thought about the prospect of having the family be the executioner, would that be ok? Then I remember that other countries do similar things, and they are considered to be barbaric.

I have also had the idea of finding Bin Laden, (when bush stops hiding him) and having someone blow his ass away on pay per view, then America could help pay back the national deficit, because who wouldn’t pay to see that, even if they opposed it, they would still want to see it. I find myself having to be honest, that I might be ok with that, but then I wonder..

Finally, the conclusion that I make is that we honor the death penalty everyday by killing civilians overseas. Every person who supports the war in Iraq supports the death penalty! I am sure not too many have thought about it in these terms. I continue to think about the different ways that executions have been performed, I have watched some of them televised. In all, I simply can’t be for it. Remember how two wrongs don’t make a right? Don’t we all like to sometimes think that there are times where this does not apply? Frankly, I am for letting these inmates live under maximum security, living a meaningless life. Maybe we could find a purpose for them, but if were going to spend money on the war, we can spend money not killing more people. How ironic is this? I apologize for the length of this post.

Ridwan said...

Hi there Dione. Thanks for your comment. You raise important issues no doubt.

My support for a total ban is on three grounds:

1. It is inhumane

2. There is no evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent.

3. The legal system is imperfect and guilt is often not subjective and often a political ruse.

I am happy to stand by the South African government's decision to ban capital punishment.

I know that folks in South Africa mostly support bringing it back, but that is a pipe dream.

It is barbaric and its continued presence in the US is telling


Dione said...

Hey Ridwan,
In reference to your third point. I was thinking about that when I was going on and on, about things. This reason of doubtful guilt is why there is a phone in most execution chambers.
A good point indeed!

I could have written a more persuasive essay, but I had been up since 5AM lol. I saw the info and had to weigh in! I had a busy day, I had taken my friend to work, my brother's wife to work, and picked up my brother at the car place because everyones ride broke down or they were going out of town. I made an awesome pot of chilli and baked all kinds of cookies. Nice and all, but I feel like a soccer mom/house wife and its time to go back to work!!

Hope your well, tell me if you want to try nutfinger cookies. Not too sweet :)Some secret recipe I stole, lol