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Report No. 262

(iii) Political commitments regarding the Death Penalty globally

3.8.28 The trend towards abolition is also evident in a series of political commitments made at the UN, through resolutions at bodies such as the General Assembly and the Un Human Rights Council.

a. General Assembly Resolutions

3.8.29 Several resolutions of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) have called for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. In 2007, the UNGA called on states to "progressively restrict the use of the death penalty, reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed" and "establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty."159

In 2008, the GA reaffirmed this resolution,160 which was reinforced in subsequent resolutions in 2010,161 2012,162 and 2014.163 Many of these resolutions noted that, "a moratorium on the use of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights."

159 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty" A/RES/62/149, 26 February 2008.

160 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty" A/RES/63/168, 13 February 2009.

161 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty" A/RES/65/206, 28 March 2011.

162 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty" A/RES/67/176, 20 March 2013.

163 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty" A/RES/69/186, 4 February 2015.

3.8.30 These resolutions have been gaining increasing support from countries over time: 117 states voted in favour of the most recent resolution in 2014, as compared to 104 in 2007. India has not voted in favour of these resolutions.

b. Un Human Rights Council

3.8.31 The Un Human Rights Council recently began a new enquiry on the death penalty, using the human rights of children of parents sentenced to the death penalty or executed as a starting point. In a 2013 resolution, the Human Rights Council acknowledged "the negative impact of a parent's death sentence and his or her execution on his or her children," urged "States to provide those children with the protection and assistance they may require," and mandated a study on this specific issue.164

It also called on states "to provide those children or, where appropriate, giving due consideration to the best interests of the child, another member of the family, with access to their parents and to all relevant information about the situation of their parents."165

A 2014 Human Rights Council resolution noted that "States with different legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds have abolished the death penalty or are applying a moratorium on its use" and deplored the fact that "the use of the death penalty leads to violations of the human rights of those facing the death penalty and of other affected persons." The Human Rights Council urged states to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.166

164 Human Rights Council, Panel on the human rights of children of parents sentenced to the death penalty or executed, 15 March 2013, A/HRC/22/L.18.

165 Human Rights Council, Panel on the human rights of children of parents sentenced to the death penalty or executed, 15 March 2013, A/HRC/22/L.18.

166 Human Rights Council, Question of the Death Penalty, 25 June 2014, A/HRC/26/L.8/Rev.1.



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