Tag: Rhonda

Amnesty International’s briefing highlights the lack of evidence that the death penalty has unique deterrent effect on crime. Statistics from countries that have abolished the death penalty show that the absence of executions has not resulted in an increase in crimes, previously subjected to capital punishment. “There is no evidence that implementing the death penalty will end drug-related crime. Executions are never a solution. Indeed, they may result in people being put to death following unfair trials. The death penalty is also a punishment that disproportionately affects people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International. The briefing highlights countries that have abolished the death penalty, or amended drug laws, including Iran where recent legislative amendments have resulted in a significant decrease in executions of people convicted of drug-related offences. Similarly, in Malaysia, the government announced a moratorium on executions and a review of the country’s death penalty laws, after having introduced some sentencing discretion for the offence of drug trafficking in 2017.Amnesty International also highlights how the trials of those facing execution could have failed to meet international fair trial standards, due to torture and forced “confessions” being routinely practiced in Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system, as noted by the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and UN experts. “There is no coming back from an execution. There is no criminal justice system that is perfect. The risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated, and the injustice that ensues can never be redeemed,” said Biraj Patnaik.Furthermore, the briefing also highlights that evidence from other countries shows that defendants from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, belonging to racial, ethnic or religious minorities are disproportionately vulnerable to being sentenced to death.Amnesty International called on the Sri Lankan Government to halt its current execution plans and establish an official moratorium on the implementation of death sentences, with a view to abolishing the death penalty altogether. Executions will not end drug-related crime in Sri Lanka, Amnesty International said today, in a new briefing that makes the case against President Maithripala Srisena’s plan to revive the death penalty 43 years after the last execution was carried out on the island.The briefing, “Sri Lanka: Halt Preparations to Resume Executions”, highlights how the death penalty is being used in circumstances that violate international law and standards, has failed to act as a unique deterrent to crime in other countries, could claim the lives of people who may have been convicted through unfair trials, and could disproportionately affect people from minority and less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. “No criminal justice system is capable of deciding fairly who should live or who should die. Sri Lanka has not implemented this ultimate cruel, degrading and inhumane punishment for more than four decades. It should continue to honour a tradition that chooses life instead of vengeance,” said Biraj Patnaik. read more

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN Officials at International Day of Peace ceremony. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras/Amanda Voisard ‹ › In his remarks this morning, Mr. Ban also stressed the need to find solutions to current conflicts and in particular the protracted crisis in Syria, which has resulted in more than 100,000 civilian deaths and the displacement of millions.“The International Day of Peace is a time for reflection – a day when we reiterate our belief in non-violence and call for a global ceasefire,” he said. “Perhaps nowhere in the world is this more desperately needed than in Syria. The death and suffering has gone on too long. I repeat my call to all parties and their supporters to work for a peaceful resolution to the conflict through negotiation.”Also speaking at the Peace Bell ceremony, the 68th General Assembly President John Ashe said the Day should be an opportunity for countries to reflect and stop hostilities. “As we hear this bell ring, let us remember that education is a path to growth and development of citizens and societies. Education that teaches the value of peace is a key preventative means of reducing war and conflict,” he said.To mark the Day, some 500 high school and university students, including refugees from around the world, will exchange views on this year’s theme via video conference with young parliamentarians at the UN Assistance Mission in Haiti. Mr. Ban’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi and the Youth Representative on the Global Education First Initiative’s Steering Committee, Chernor Bah, will also take part in the celebrations. The United Nations today marked the International Day of Peace with a call to invest in education that encourages children to embrace global citizenship based on values of tolerance and diversity. “Every girl and every boy deserves to receive a quality education and learn the values that will help them to grow up to be global citizens in tolerant communities that respect diversity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said before ringing the Peace Bell in New York, ahead of the official observance of the Day, which falls on Saturday 21 September.A gift from Japan that hangs from a wooden beam in a garden in front of UN Headquarters, the Peace Bell has tolled every year in a solemn call for peace since 1981, when the General Assembly established the Day to coincide with the opening of its annual September. The theme of this year’s observance is: ‘Education for Peace.’There are currently 57 million children that do not have access to education, and millions more that need better schooling. Mr. Ban recalled the words of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and youth activist who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes, saying that “one teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world,” and called on Governments to increase investment on education.“Educating the poorest and most marginalized children will require bold political leadership and increased financial commitment,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day. “Yet aid for education has dropped for the first time in a decade. We must reverse this decline, forge new partnerships, and bring much greater attention to the quality of education.”Mr. Ban noted that UN agencies are working in conflict and post-conflict environments to give children access to education. “We are building schools, developing curricula, training teachers and providing nourishing breakfasts and school lunches. These initiatives can transform the lives of children and help address the root causes of conflict.” read more