Amnesty International: Death penalty on decline, US in top 5
A new Amnesty International report finds that the use of the death penalty is declining worldwide and that in a number of countries, even when death sentences are issued, they are not carried out.
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China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and the United States lead the world in carrying out the most death sentences. And China is suspected of executing more people in 2010 than all other countries combined – although that number is uncertain because China does not disclose its death penalty information.
Although there has been a downward trend in executions, officials at Amnesty International have expressed concern over China’s reluctance to make its execution records public and a number of other countries who still issue death sentences for drug-related offenses.
“In spite of some setbacks, developments in 2010 brought us closer to global abolition,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general in an official press release. “For the third time and with more support than ever before, the UN General Assembly called for a global moratorium on executions. Any country that continues to execute is flying in the face of the fact that both human rights law and UN human rights bodies consistently hold that abolition should be the objective.”
Amnesty International estimates that China executed thousands of people last year and urged them to make their records public. Excluding China, the total number of executions fell from 714 in 2009 to 527 in 2010, reports the BBC. Around the world, there seems to be a general trend toward the abolition of the death penalty. Over the past decade 31 countries have eliminated the death penalty in law or practice. Gabon was the most recent country to end the punishment, making it the 139th country to do so.