UN welcomes abolition of death penalty in US state of Connecticut

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

27 April 2012 – The United Nations human rights office today welcomed a new law in the state of Connecticut, in the United States, that abolishes the death penalty and urged other states to follow suit.

With the signing of the new law on Wednesday, Connecticut became the 17th US state to formally repeal capital punishment, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

California will consider a similar measure in November, and OHCHR urged the authorities there to follow the Connecticut example.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage other states, as well as the federal authorities, to move towards the abolition of capital punishment altogether,” OHCHR’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva.

He noted that, even though the imposition of the death penalty fell by around half between 2001 and 2011, the US was still ranked by human rights non-governmental organizations among the top five countries carrying out executions last year. The other four are China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has repeatedly called for the universal abolition of the death penalty, citing a host of reasons ranging from the fundamental right to life to the possibility of judicial errors.

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