Helping the world achieve a moratorium on executions
In December 2014, the United Nations’ General Assembly voted on a new resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Following the four previous resolutions, the Coalition continued its
action in favour of a global moratorium.
In 2007, the World Coalition made one of the most important decisions in its young history: to support the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards universal abolition.
A moratorium is temporary suspension of executions and, more rarely, of death sentences. It is provisional and often depends on the will of a key decision maker (president, minister of justice...). Conversely, abolition is permanent as enshrined in law.
“The use of the death penalty undermines human dignity”
Several attempts to pass a resolution against the death penalty at the UN General Assembly at the end of the 20th century had failed. In 2007, however, the momentum was different because a trend towards the universal abolition had begun. Two-thirds of the world’s countries had abolished the death penalty or ceased to apply it, and the number of executions declined each year. The time had come to encourage a majority of states to adopt the principle that “the use of the death penalty undermines human dignity“ and to call “upon all States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolish the death penalty”.
This decision also marked the launch of the World Coalition’s first international advocacy campaign directed towards states and international organizations. The Coalition participated actively in the efforts for the adoption of the resolution by dedicating the 2007 World Day Against the Death Penalty to this issue. It collected more than 160,000 signatures on a petition and lobbied 105 countries. On December 18, 2007, the resolution was passed with the support of 104 UN members states, while 54 voted against and 29 abstained.
In 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, the World Coalition led a campaign to increase support for the new resolution and to ensure its implementation. The vote on December 18, 2008 showed increasing support for the moratorium: 106 countries voted in favour, 48 against and 34 abstained. In 2010, even more countries supported the resolution with 109 votes in favour, 41 votes against and 35 abstentions. In December 2012, the resolution gained even more support with 111 states voting in favor, 41 voting against and 34 abstaining. More recently, in December 2014, the resolution was passed with a record 117 votes in favour, 38 against, 34 abstentions and four absent.
Since 2007, the movement for abolition has grown larger and larger. More states have abolished the death penalty, more moratoria on executions have been implemented and proposals for abolition in law have multiplied throughout the world.
A delegation of World Coalition member organisations has handed over the petition to United Nations General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim.
Article published on November 08th, 2007
Together with filmmaker Tim Robbins, abolitionists launched an appeal from New York to support the proposed UN resolution imposing a freeze on executions. Five million people signed the petition supporting this initiative. Watch the video.
Article published on October 25th, 2007
As the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly gets under way in New York, the spotlight is once again put on a text calling for a global moratorium on executions.
Article published on November 08th, 2008
The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty welcomes the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a second resolution calling for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Article published on December 19th, 2008
The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty welcomes the adoption
by the United Nations General Assembly of a third resolution calling for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Article published on December 22nd, 2010
A majority of the world’s nations have approved a text calling for a global moratorium on executions, with stronger support than in a previous vote two years ago.
Article by Maria Donatelli published on November 20th, 2012
On December 20th 2012 the UN General Assembly voted in favor of its fourth resolution for a “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty” following previous resolutions in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Video published on January 28th, 2013
The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty welcomes the adoption by a growing number of United Nations member States of a fourth resolution calling for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Article by Maria Donatelli published on December 20th, 2012
The latest vote at the UN General Assembly shows wider support than ever for a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Article by Maria Donatelli published on December 19th, 2014
On October 10th, 2007, the World Day against the Death Penalty focussed on the proposed UN General Assembly resolution for a universal moratorium on executions. The proposal would save lives and give the population of retentionist states an opportunity to see for themselves that a pause in death sentences does not lead to higher crime rates.
Article by Thomas Hubert published on June 29th, 2007
On 19 December 2016, with 117 States voting in favour of the resolution, the UN member states reasserted their support for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Article by Elise Guillot et Aurélie Plaçais published on December 20th, 2016