Geneva, Switzerland

05 March 2014

Secretary-General's video message for High-Level Event of the Human Rights Council on the Question of the Death Penalty

Your Excellency Mr. Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Human Rights Council for convening this important discussion.

In 2007, the General Assembly took a significant step toward the abolition of capital punishment when it called for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Since that landmark vote, the trend against capital punishment has become stronger.

Its influence is felt in every region and across all legal systems, traditions and religions. Around 160 countries have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

The taking of life is too irreversible for one human being to inflict it on another.

Even in countries that do allow for capital punishment, there remain too many cases of people being put to death despite legitimate questions about their guilt, or in hasty circumstances that fail to adhere to international standards regarding due process.

We must continue to argue strongly that the death penalty is unjust and incompatible with fundamental human rights.

I call on States that have not yet done so to ratify the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

It is my sincere hope to see many instruments of ratification as we mark the Protocol’s 25th anniversary at the treaty event in New York later this year.

Let us all do our utmost to put a final stop to this cruel and inhumane practice.

Thank you.