New York

21 November 2012

Statement by the Secretary-General on the adoption by the General Assembly’s Third Committee of the resolution “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”

The Secretary-General welcomes Monday’s record vote in favour of the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty by the Third Committee of the General Assembly, which adopted the resolution by 110 votes in favour (with 39 against and 36 abstentions). The new resolution, inter alia, calls on all States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. It reflects a trend against capital punishment which has grown stronger across regions, legal traditions and customs since the landmark resolution of the General Assembly in 2007. The Secretary-General saluted this development at a high-level event on the death penalty in New York this July. He said then that the taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by legal process. 

Some 150 States have either abolished or do not practice the death penalty. Monday’s vote offers the opportunity to again encourage Member States who still practice the death penalty or retain it in law to follow suit. The Secretary-General therefore calls on Member States to join the worldwide trend and support next month’s General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.