Essay about Death penalty

1977 Words 8 Pages
     Fifty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the trend towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty is unmistakable. When the Declaration was adopted in 1948, eight countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes; today, as of November 1998, the number stands at 63. More than half the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, and the numbers continue to grow.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty as a violation of fundamental human rights - the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. Both of these rights are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
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The defendants may not understand the charges or the evidence against them, especially if they are not conversant with the language used in court. Facilities for interpretation and translation of court documents are often inadequate. In some cases prisoners are unable to exercise their right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction and the right to petition for clemency or commutation of the death sentence. In some jurisdictions, capital cases are heard before special or military courts using summary procedures.
The death penalty is often used disproportionately against members of disadvantaged social groups, and thus in a discriminatory fashion, contrary to Articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate denial of the dignity and worth of the human person, affirmed in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There is no criminological justification for the death penalty which would outweigh the human rights grounds for abolishing it. The argument that the death penalty is needed to deter crime has become discredited by the consistent lack of scientific evidence that it does so more effectively than other punishments.
International human rights standards have developed in a way that favors even tighter restrictions on the scope of the death penalty. This progressive narrowing of the death penalty is mirrored by actual practice in most states which still use

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