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Opponents argue against UN death penalty moratorium

[JURIST] Nations that support the use of the death penalty [JURIST news archive] Wednesday criticized a UN draft resolution [text; JURIST report] to impose a world-wide moratorium on the capital punishment. The UN Human Rights Committee [official website] is scheduled to vote on the resolution Thursday; if it passes, it will go to the full General Assembly later this year. Opponents of the resolution, including Singapore, Egypt, and Botswana, argued before the Committee Wednesday that it would infringe on nations' sovereignty, and presented a list of 14 last-minute amendments emphasizing nations' right to set criminal punishments. Reuters has more. The Independent has additional coverage.

Over 70 states [co-sponsor list, XLS] have backed the proposal. The draft resolution states that capital punishment "undermines human dignity," that "there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty's deterrent value" and that "any miscarriage or failure of justice in [its] implementation is irreversible and irreparable." Two previous attempts to abolish the death penalty failed to win a majority in the 192-member assembly. This time, however, the resolution calls for a suspension, rather than a complete abolition, of capital punishment.

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