Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, today (23 December) issued in Berlin the following statement on the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions:
“I am delighted the UN General Assembly has adopted by a large majority the resolution calling for a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty.
The adoption of the resolution by the largest majority since such a resolution was tabled for the first time in 2007 shows that ever more countries share our view of the death penalty: it is an inhumane punishment that violates the right to life and has demonstrably had no effect in deterring crime.
The vote in New York confirms there is a clear trend towards universal abolition. Since the early 1990s over 50 countries have abolished the death penalty for all offences. Only in a minority of countries does it remain on the statute books.
I call on these countries to respect the UN resolution, proclaim a moratorium on executions and commute death sentences to prison sentences.
I see encouraging developments particularly in Africa. Many countries there no longer carry out the death penalty, even though it remains on the statute books. I invite these countries to take the further step of officially abolishing it.
I am concerned about the situation in Asia, where more executions are carried out than anywhere else in the world. I call on the countries in this region to limit the large number of death sentences handed down and introduce a moratorium on executions.”