‘End Death Penalty Now’, UN Chief Urges Countries
Hundreds of offenders – often impoverished, women or hailing from minority groups – have been executed without legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings.
This is a source of concern for the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who has called on the UN Member States to put an immediate end to the death penalty of criminals.
Guterres, in a statement marking the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, said progress made toward eliminating the death penalty had been “marred by setbacks”.
The UN chief argued that legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings might have spared them from the death penalty.
Some 170 Member States have abolished or put a stay on executions, since the UN General Assembly’s first call for a moratorium on its use in 2007.
But Guterres noted the lack of transparency in some countries, where the death penalty was still used, underscoring its incompatibility with human rights standards.
The UN scribe said he was “deeply disturbed” in particular, by the number of juvenile offenders being executed.
“Only last week, Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran of Iran, was executed for killing her husband, when she was 17, despite a trial marred by irregularities.
“In some countries, people are sentenced to death in secret trials, without due process, increasing the potential for error or abuse,’’ the UN chief regretted.
Guterres called for all nations to abolish the practice of executions adding: “I call on those remaining, to join the majority and put an end to the death penalty now’’.
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