For 20 years, the United Nations Protocol to abolish the death penalty has been the only universal treaty of worldwide scope to prohibit executions and secure universal abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.
On December 15, 2009, the UN Protocol to abolish the death penalty celebrates its 20th anniversary. 72 States have ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty out of 192 United Nations member states and 164 countries which have ratified the ICCPR .
Because 139 countries around the world have already abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty works to ensure that this treaty becomes the international standard that prohibits the death penalty all over the world. It launched a campaign for the ratification of the Protocol in October 2009 at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
The campaign is officially supported by « Friends of the Protocol » such as Chile, France, and Spain, which support the advocacy work by civil society.
10 countries encouraged to ratify the Protocol
Ten countries are expected to ratify the Protocol as soon as possible. Their ratification will strengthen their position within the abolitionist family of nations: Armenia, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mauritius, Poland and the Dominican Republic.
These countries are already abolitionist in law and voted in favor of the UN resolution for a moratorium on the application of the death penalty in 2007 and 2008.
Among the countries that have ratified the Protocol, 8 are African states, including South Africa and Rwanda; 14 are on the American continent, including Brazil, Canada and Mexico; 8 are in Asia and Oceania, including Australia and the Philippines; and 42 are in Europe.
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 15, 1989.