Amnesty International’s research on the use of the death penalty in 2018 confirmed that its imposition and implementation is confined to a minority of countries. The number of known executions dropped by over 30% compared to 2017, representing the lowest figure that the organization has recorded in the past decade. This drop reflected significant reductions in some of the world’s top executing countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. However, this progress was marred by resumptions or increases in executions in some countries including Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan, Thailand and the USA. Rare official figures on Viet Nam placed it among the lead executioners.
On the positive side, Burkina Faso abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes while Gambia established an official moratorium on executions and became a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The Government of Malaysia also announced a moratorium on executions and reforms of its death penalty laws.
This report analyses some of the key elements in the worldwide use of the death penalty in 2018.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or the circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.
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