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The death penalty

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Introduction

Human rights are fundamental rights which every human being is entitled to just because they are human. The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights. It is the cold blooded killing of a human being in the name of 'justice'. In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; in Articles 3 and 5 it states that "no one shall be subjected to cruel or degrading punishment and everyone has the right to life and liberty". The death penalty violates both of these fundamental rights. The United Nations Rights Commission (UNHRC) has passed a resolution calling for all nations that continue executions, to restrict the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed and to suspend executions with a view towards abolishing the death penalty. While most nations have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, the US is one of few industrialised countries in the world which continues to execute criminals. The US accounts for the highest number of executions; 65 people were executed in 2003, bringing a total of 885 prisoners put to death since the US Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on executions in 1976. ...read more.

Middle

Executing juveniles breaches Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966- into force in 1976), which states that the "Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age". Also in the Convention on the rights of the child, article 37 it states that "no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment shall be imposed". These conventions are obviously being breached. In 1984, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty. The Safeguards state that no one under the age of 18 at the time of the crime shall be put to death and that anyone sentenced to death has the right to appeal and to petition for pardon or commutation of sentence and executions regarding the mentally ill it states: "...nor shall the death sentence be carried out...on persons who have become insane." The case of Robert Anthony Carter is one of many examples of unfair death convictions. He was a juvenile and was mentally retarded and suffered abuse as a child by his parents. ...read more.

Conclusion

Amnesty International continues to work for the abolition by regularly monitoring developments, collecting information worldwide and organising an ongoing program of work against the death penalty in cooperation with other human rights organisations and governments. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization dedicated to protecting human rights worldwide. Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because of its cruel and inhumane nature. They investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. They challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. Conclusion: The death penalty legitimises an irreversible act of violence by the state, in which many victims are later found innocent. In my opinion, killing a murderer does not bring his victims back to life; it achieves nothing but the death of another person. It only serves to create more victims and continues the cycle of violence. No ones life should be placed under another person's authority nor should anyone have the power to determine whether a person shall die. The US should be protecting their citizens and have other alternative measures, such as life imprisonment; to ensure that international laws and human rights are not being violated. ...read more.

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