HANDS OFF CAIN 2010 REPORT: THE DATA CONFIRMS THE POSITIVE EVOLUTION TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY
July 31, 2010: the 2010 report, published by Reality Book and again edited by Elisabetta Zamparutti, gives an account of the most important facts relative to the death penalty in 2009 and in the first six months of 2010. The data confirms the positive evolution towards the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Meanwhile, on the opposite front, China, Iran and Iraq were the countries with the highest number of executions in 2009.
During the event, the objectives of the campaign by Hands Off Cain for the realisation of the UN Resolution for the Universal Moratorium on capital punishment were also presented. They started with Africa and looked forward to the presentation in Autumn at the United Nations of a new pro-moratorium Resolution.
The 2010 Hands Off Cain Report confirms the positive evolution towards the worldwide abolition of the death penalty in practice for more than ten years now. The countries or territories that have decided to abolish capital punishment in law or in practice today are 154, with 43 still employing it.
The gradual abolition is also evident in the decrease in the number of executions in countries that still use capital punishment. In 2009, executions were at least 5,679, down from the at least 5,735 in 2008 and at least 5,851 in 2007.
Once again, Asia is the continent where almost all global executions took place. With the huge estimated number of 5000 people executed in China, there were at least 5,608 executions (98.7%) in the continent.
The Americas would be a continent practically free of the death penalty, if it wasnâ€™t for the United States, the only country in the continent that carried out executions (52) in 2009.
In Africa, in 2009 the death penalty was carried out in only 4 countries, Botswana (1), Egypt (at least 5), Libya (at least 4) and Sudan (at least 9). Therefore, the at least 19 executions recorded were a decrease on the at least 26 in 2007 and 87 in 2006.
In Europe, Belarus continues to be the only exception in a continent otherwise totally free of the death penalty.
In 2009 and in the first six months of 2010, 6 countries went from maintaining the death penalty to abolishing it, while in 9 countries there were no executions recorded despite having had them in 2008.
However, there is a fact that it is important to reflect on. Of the 43 countries that still employ the death penalty, 36 are dictatorships or authoritarian or illiberal regimes. In 15 of these countries, there were at least 5,619 executions in 2009, approximately 99% of the global total.
Many of these countries do not provided official statistics on the use of the death penalty, and the number of executions could be much higher.
One country alone, China, carried out approximately 5,000 executions, around 88% of the global total; Iran carried out at least 402; Iraq at least 77. They were the countries with the three highest totals of executions in 2009.
Of the 43 countries that still employ the death penalty, only 7 can be defined as liberal democracies. Of the liberal democracies in 2009 that have the death penalty, only 3 carried out a total of 60 executions, around l.1% of the global total: the United States (52), Japan (7) and Botswana (1).
Considering that 99% of worldwide capital punishment concerns authoritarian countries, it is evident that the definite solution is, more than the fight against the death penalty, the fight for democracy, the affirmation of the State of rights, and the promotion and respect of political rights and civil liberties in more parts of the world. (Sources: Hands Off Cain, 31/07/2009)