Ban for an end to death penalty
Nov 6, NY: Studies have proven that those who are poor, mentally disabled, and/or are minorities are at higher risk of receiving the death sentence, regardless of guilt or innocence, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said. “That is simply wrong,” he added.
Ban, in his remarks at the launch of a book, Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Arguments, Trends and Perspectives, by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed his deep concern that “some States are sentencing more people to death and others are resuming executions.
The book documents injustices that are “sickening,” Ban noted, “but the arguments for change are compelling” and cited that “more and more countries and States are abolishing the death penalty” in all regions of the world.
Attending the launch was Kirk Bloodsworth of the United States, who is the first person exonerated from death row by post-conviction DNA evidence. He was introduced by UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach. The Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Sebastiano Cardi, also made remarks.
In an interview with the UN News Centre, Bloodsworth indeed said he was saved by a series of miracles. He had survived the terrible ordeal – “spending a total of 8 years 10 months and 19 days in prison for a crime I did not commit” – through faith in himself “and my belief that I knew I was an innocent person, and at the end of the day, the truth came out.
Ahead of the launch, the book’s editor, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović, said in1975, about 97 per cent of countries were executing criminals 2015, but only 27 per cent of countries that hand down the death penalty.
But Šimonović said that in 2014, there had unfortunately been a 28 per cent increase in the number of people condemned to death and also noted that one of the biggest drawbacks of death penalties is the “wrongful conviction” of suspects.
The Oslo Times