October 10 Is World Day Against the Death Penalty

Every year on October 10, people around the globe observe World Day Against the Death Penalty. The focus changes year by year, and this year’s theme is “The Death Penalty Does Not Stop Drug Crimes.”

Countries That Kill

The U.S. is among the top five executioners in the world, along with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and China, which executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

On a more positive note, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty in 1977, but today that number is 140, which is almost two-thirds of countries worldwide. 

A few more facts: according to Amnesty International, death sentences increased by more than 500 last year compared with 2013; at least 2,466 were sentenced to death.

On the other hand, the number of actual executions dropped by around 22 percent, to at least 607. This doesn’t count China, where such numbers are a state secret.

Twenty-two countries murdered people by government decree in 2014, compared to 41 in 2004, and Madagascar added itself to the list of countries that have abolished the death penalty.

Ten Reasons The Death Penalty Is Wrong (adapted from Death Penalty Focus)

1. Irreversible mistakes happen, and innocent people are executed.

2. The death penalty is extremely expensive.

3.  The death penalty can provoke prolonged suffering for the victim’s family; offenders may spend 20 or 30 years on death row.

4. Scientific studies have found no proof that capital punishment deters people from committing crimes.

5.  Almost all nations in Western Europe, North America and South America, a total of 140 worldwide, have abolished the death penalty.

6.  The quality of legal representation is the most important factor in determining whether or not a defendant will receive the death penalty; in general, poor people get the worst legal support.

7.  Religious groups agree that the death penalty is immoral.

8. Racial disparities mean that the race of both the victim and the defendant are major factors in determining who lives and who dies in the U.S.

9. Politics and where a crime is committed are more often determining factors in a death penalty case than the facts of the crime.

10. A sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is cheaper to tax-payers and keeps offenders off the streets forever.

The Death Penalty Doesn’t Stop Drug Crimes

In light of these 10 reasons why the death penalty is always unacceptable, let’s examine the theme of this year’s World Day Against The Death Penalty.

The use of the death penalty is decreasing worldwide, but there has been a jump in the number of executions for drug-related offenses in 2015. A total of 33 countries retain the option to execute people for drug use or trafficking, and 13 have used this option in the last five years.

Perhaps the most famous of these happened in April of this year when the Indonesian government executed eight people by firing squad for drug offenses, including two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran, who were the subject of a years-long campaign for clemency. Four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian were also executed.

In addition to all the reasons for being against the death penalty, it’s clear that imposing the death penalty for drug-related crimes does not protect people from drug abuse. In the World Drug Report 2014, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that in 2012, there were 183,000 drug-related deaths worldwide. Drug overdose is the chief cause of drug-related deaths worldwide, with opioids being the main drug category implicated in those deaths. There is no proof, however, that the death penalty reduces drug consumption.

Neither does the death penalty deter drug trafficking. Take Singapore: the country has had very strict laws for drug-related offenses since 1973 and has in fact been a world leader in imposing the death penalty for such crimes. In spite of this, the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore reported record numbers of drug seizures in 2012.

In addition, serious concerns have been raised over trial standards in countries that allow the death penalty for drug-related offenses, according to Harm Reduction International. Independent human rights groups have uncovered evidence of confessions extracted under coercion or torture in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and others. The trial standards for such crimes have also raised concerns in Cuba, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea and Syria, amongst other countries.

The World Day against the Death Penalty was created in 2003 to help activists worldwide rally to oppose the death penalty.

The focus for 2015 is to end the use of the death penalty for drug-related offenses, but whatever the reason for the death sentence, deliberately taking another person’s life is not justice; it is nothing more than a crude instrument of revenge. We should banish the death penalty now.

Take Action!

If you agree that it is not the state’s place to end a sacred human life, please join Pope Francis in demanding that the U.S. abolish the death penalty by signing our petition now.

 

56 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y9 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y9 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J9 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J9 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Terrible thing.

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MARY AIST
MARY AIST3 years ago

My strongest argument against the death penalty is that in many cases you can't be sure whether or not a person is truly guilty or not. If a verdict is found incorrect you can let a person out of jail but you can't bring them back to life. A person guilt is determined by many people (judges, lawyers, juries) all of which are humans capable of making mistakes. Poor people are more at risk of receiving a faulty conviction, in part because they can't afford quality representation.

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Allow the people a chance

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Bring back the death penalty; however, execute the guilty ones, not the innocent ones!!! By doing so, it would relieve prison overcrowiding. Pedophiles, serial killers and serial rapists, such as Bill Cosby, shouldn't walk the face of the Earth another day!

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