Africa: Ban Welcomes General Assembly Committee's Record Vote On Death Penalty Moratorium

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes a record vote by a General Assembly committee in favour of the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, according to his spokesperson.

"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 spokesperson added in a news statement, noting that 150 States have either abolished or do not practice the death penalty.

He continued, "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."

The new resolution, inter alia, calls on all States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

The vote took place on Monday in the Assembly's Third Committee, which adopted the resolution by 110 votes in favour, with 39 against and 36 abstentions.

The Third Committee deals with social and humanitarian issues, as well as human rights. It is one of six such bodies, which each deal with a block of issues and themes under discussion by the wider General Assembly, but which lend themselves to more effective discussion in smaller settings before then being forwarded to all UN Member States - in the so-called General Assembly Plenary - for a final decision.

Mr. Ban's spokesperson said the Committee's resolution reflects a trend against capital punishment which has grown stronger across regions, legal traditions and customs since a landmark General Assembly resolution on the topic in 2007.

"The Secretary-General saluted this development at a high-level event on the death penalty in New York this July," the spokesperson added. "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."

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