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​NHRIs vow to continue fight against death penalty

Graphic: NHRI representatives at a conference plenary session

NHRIs from across the Asia Pacific have reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the abolition of the death penalty at a major global conference.


National human rights institutions from across the Asia Pacific have reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the abolition of the death penalty within their countries and across the region at a major global conference.

Senior representatives from 13 APF member institutions joined with NHRIs from other regions at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, held in Oslo, Norway from 21-23 June 2016.

In a statement to the World Congress, NHRIs told delegates that they "will continue to play an important role … to promote the abolition of the death penalty, and to monitor, bear witness to, and report on the manner in which such sentences are determined and carried out".

The NHRIs also highlighted the unique role they can play to "act as a bridge between the State and civil society organisations by facilitating and providing space for discussions on capital punishment".

The Final Declaration of the World Congress noted that the worldwide abolitionist movement is growing, with almost three-quarters of countries having now abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Since the 2013 World Congress, six countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

However, 58 countries and territories retain the death penalty and often apply it in an arbitrary manner. Further, certain countries have resumed executions after lengthy moratoriums.

The Final Declaration included a series of practical suggestions that different groups – including abolitionist states, retentionist states, parliamentarians, intergovernmental organisations and civil society – can take to bring about the universal abolition of the death penalty.

NHRIs were active participants during the World Congress, leading a plenary session that focused on how they can and do use their unique role and functions to advocate for changes to law, practice and community awareness.

Noting this contribution, the Final Declaration encouraged NHRIs to "to systematically add questions on the death penalty to their agendas and to encourage their States to abolish the death penalty vote in favour of the UNGASS resolution calling for a universal moratorium on capital punishment in 2016".

In their statement, NHRIs said they looked forward "to working with all stakeholders, particularly in the lead up to discussion on the General Assembly moratorium resolution later this year, as together we seek to advance the abolition of the death penalty across the world."

Date: 12 July 2016


Image credits

  1. NHRI representatives at a conference plenary session - APF/Greg Heesom