75th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights Shines Spotlight on World Day Against the Death Penalty: Progress, Challenges, and Renewed Commitment
Challenges and Ongoing Issues Highlighted on World Day Against the Death Penalty
According to passblue.com, the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 21st World Day Against the Death Penalty, celebrated on Oct. 10, highlight the global progress in ending capital punishment. Since 1948, when only 14 countries had abolished the death penalty, over two-thirds of the world’s nations have now either abolished it in law or practice, demonstrating the significance of the world day against the death penalty.
International agreements like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, its second optional protocol, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child have played a vital role in guiding efforts to end the death penalty, especially for crimes committed by those under 18. Nevertheless, pressing concerns persist. Many countries that retain the death penalty operate in secrecy and legal uncertainty, making the death penalty all the more crucial. Reports from 2022 reveal nearly 900 executions and over 2,000 death sentences worldwide, underlining the continued relevance of the death penalty.
Shockingly, women and individuals with mental or intellectual disabilities are not exempt from the death penalty, further emphasizing the importance of the world day against the death penalty. Moreover, children remain at risk, either as those sentenced to death or as children of parents on death row.
Urgent Need for Action: Protecting the Rights of Children and Families on World Day Against the Death Penalty
The International Commission Against the Death Penalty’s recent report spotlights that while most countries no longer execute children, there are still nations where it remains lawful, making the world day against the death penalty essential for advocacy. In 2021, four juvenile offenders were executed in Iran and Yemen, with at least 87 children facing death sentences.
The world day against the death penalty continues to be relevant as countries use unreliable age determination assessments as an argument for executing children. Globally, millions of children lack legal proof of identity, risking their treatment as adults by the criminal justice system, further highlighting the importance of the world day against the death penalty. Children with parents or close relatives on death row endure traumatic experiences and enduring stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, underscoring the significance of the death penalty in raising awareness.
On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ 75th anniversary, the commitment to a world free of the death penalty is renewed, emphasizing the importance of the world day against the death penalty. Capital punishment is considered a cruel, inhumane punishment that disproportionately affects marginalized individuals and carries the constant risk of executing the innocent, making the world day against the death penalty a crucial platform for advocacy.