Death penalty: time to end it!?

Today (9/28/07) the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Massimo D’Alema, made a proposal to the UN General Assembly for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. One can easily predict that powerful countries that apply the death penalty, including China, the United States are likely to lobby against it.

D’Alema stated that capital executions are an “extreme, visible act of violence, which belongs to a culture that should be of the past.”

I deeply agree with his statement. Capital punishment is a drawback in global advancement and international human rights.

More than 130 countries have abolished the death penalty. Mr. D’Alema is hopeful that a change can happen. He believes the international public opinion is changing on this matter.

Portugal strongly supported the Italian’s initiative and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, seemed in favor of such proposal.

One question remains, is Italy and Portugal’s effort in vain, as long as some of the most influential and powerful nations in the world are in favor of death penalty?

4 Replies to “Death penalty: time to end it!?”

  1. While I agree that the death penalty should be abolished, I am thankful that individual countries have some liberty to dissent from international rule. We are approaching a world where local government is being dictated by national, and national by international. I am sympathetic to the ideals of well-meaning liberals, but giving up political sovereignty will not (and has never) lead to positive change in the world scene.

  2. Cody, thank you for your comment. You have and interesting point of view.

    I believe the issue is not about liberal or conservative views. In fact, I would hardly consider it being a political issue, rather a humanitarian one. I believe raising the issue in a forum such as the UN, will not establish an international rule. The UN does not have the power to impose anything in my opinion.

    Furthermore, the way the UN operates is in an environment of “forced” democracy where nations need to come to an agreement in order to move forward on an issue. If there is no agreement, things stall.

    The United Nations have helped achieve many international agreements on political, civil, and economic rights. The UN made a lot of progress in establishing guidelines for minimum wage rights, underage working policies, etc. since adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

    I think it is important that member nations that have a problem with death penalty speak up at the UN General Assembly. Hopefully the proposal will become another international treaty.

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