Human Rights Commissioner on the suspension of the death penalty in the State of Washington

12.02.2014 - Press release

The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement today (12 February) on the decision taken by the State of Washington to stop carrying out death sentences:

I am pleased to note that the Governor of the State of Washington has announced a moratorium on capital punishment, thus following the international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.

I hope that this step will result in the abolition of capital punishment in the State of Washington and that other states will follow suit.

The death penalty is inhumane and makes no good sense in terms of legal policy. It has no place in the 21st century. The Federal Government is committed to its worldwide abolition.


On 11 February 2014, Governor Jay Inslee announced a moratorium on the execution of death sentences in the State of Washington, saying that the State was thus heeding the mounting domestic debate on the issue. Capital punishment has been abolished in 18 states of the Union, most recently in Maryland in early 2013. Also on 11 February, the competent committee of the House of Representatives of the State of New Hampshire endorsed a bill doing away with the death penalty. The bill is expected to be put to the vote in the plenary of the House within a month. In 2012, a large majority of the UN General Assembly came out in favour of moratoria on capital punishment.

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