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United Nations vote on death penalty moratorium welcomed

Amnesty International has welcomed an increase in global support for abolition of the death penalty, after the UN General Assembly yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

In the vote, the fourth such vote by the plenary session of the UNGA since 2007, 111 states voted for the resolution - an increase of two from the last vote in 2010. There were 41 votes against, with 34 abstentions.

New voters in favour of the moratorium included the Central African Republic, Chad, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tunisia. As a further positive sign, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia moved from opposition to abstention.

However, Amnesty expressed regret that Bahrain, Dominica and Oman changed their abstention to a vote against the resolution - while Maldives, Namibia and Sri Lanka went from a vote in favour to an abstention.

Speaking immediately after Thursday’s vote, Amnesty International’s UN representative in New York José Luis Díaz said:

“Today’s vote reaffirmed the clear worldwide trend of moving away from the use of the death penalty. There are now 140 countries worldwide that are abolitionist in law or practice.

“Although the UNGA vote is not legally binding, it does express the will of the international community and is a strong signal from the world body.

“The death penalty is the ultimate form of cruel and inhuman punishment - we oppose its use in all circumstances.”

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