Amnesty International reported on Wednesday that global executions fell by nearly one-third last year to the lowest figure in at least a decade.
In its 2018 global review of the death penalty, Amnesty assed known executions worldwide, except in China, where executions thought to be in the thousands remain classified as a state secret.
Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s Secretary General, said, “the dramatic global fall in executions proves that even the most unlikely countries are starting to change their ways and realize the death penalty is not the answer.”
Among such countries, Iran’s executions fell by a staggering 50 percent following a change to its anti-narcotics law. “Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia also showed a significant reduction in the number they carried out. As a result, execution figures fell globally from at least 993 in 2017, to at least 690 in 2018.”
Amnesty found increases in executions in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the US. However, China remains the worlds top executioner with executions estimated in the thousands, followed by Iran who reported 253 deaths last year and Saudi Arabia reporting 149 deaths.
“Overall, 2018’s figures show that the death penalty is firmly in decline, and that effective steps are being taken across the world to end the use of this cruel and inhuman punishment.”