UNITED NATIONS: THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE ADOPTS A RESOLUTION ON A MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS
|Il Palazzo di Vetro dell'Onu a New York
11 novembre 2010: The UN General Assembly would, for the third time in four years, renew its call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty under the terms of a draft resolution approved today in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) by a recorded vote.
Following on similar resolutions adopted by the Assembly in the 2007 and 2008 sessions, the draft was approved by a vote of 107 in favour to 38 against, with 36 abstentions.
The resolution garnered more support from UN Member States than the previous resolution in 2007 and 2008, confirming the worldwide trend towards abolition of capital punishment. In 2007, the resolution pro-moratorium was adopted by 104 votes in favour, 54 against with 29 abstentions at the UN General Assembly in New York. In 2008, the resolution was approved by 106 votes in favour, 46 against with 34 abstentions.
Bhutan, Guatemala, Kiribati, Maldives, Mongolia and Togo changed their vote to back the moratorium. In a further sign of support, Afghanistan, Comores, Nigeria, Solomon Islands and Thailand moved from opposition to abstention.
While noting ongoing national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty, the Third Committee calls upon States to restrict the use of the death penalty, to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed, and “to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty”. States that have abolished the death penalty are meanwhile called upon not to reintroduce it.
Enhancing a similar call included in the previous resolution in 2007, the Third Committee calls upon all Member States to make available relevant information with regard to their use of the death penalty, which can contribute to possible informed and transparent national debates.
Three written amendments to the draft, as well as one oral amendment, were put forward by delegations who said the jurisdiction of Member States was completely disregarded by the draft. All the proposed amendments were rejected by recorded vote.
The most important amendment proposed by Egypt, who said that, under the Charter of the United Nations, the Organization was unauthorized to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, was rejected by a vote of 62 in favour to 79 against, with 31 abstentions. The amendment proposed by Botswana was rejected by a vote of 51 in favour to 81 against, with 33 abstentions. Singapore’s amendment was rejected by a vote of 58 in favour to 79 against, with 30 abstentions.
The representative of the Bahamas moved an oral amendment to operative paragraph 3 (d), in such a way that it would have the General Assembly call upon States “to consider establishing a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty” (in lieu of “to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty”). The oral amendment offered by Bahamas was rejected by a vote of 54 in favour to 82 against, with 29 abstentions.
The General Assembly is expected to endorse the resolution in its plenary session in December. (Sources: United Nations, 11/11/2010)