• Press Release

Amnesty International Welcomes Mongolia’s “Vital Step” Toward Abolishing Death Penalty, as a Model for Other Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region

January 5, 2012

With More than Two-Thirds of the World's Countries Having Abolished the Death Penalty, United States Stands with "Execution Group" Including North Korea and Iran

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]

(Washington) — Amnesty International USA said today Mongolia's "vital step" toward abolishing the death penalty should serve as a model for other countries in the region and elsewhere, including the United States, to end the ultimate cruel and degrading punishment. A year ago, Mongolia's president declared a moratorium on executions and Amnesty International has urged all U.S. states to do the same.

Should Mongolia take the final step toward full abolition of the death penalty, it would leave 57 countries worldwide which retain the death penalty, including the United States, which is in the company of Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, among others. Full List: http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/abolitionist-and-retentionist-countries

"The death penalty is on its way out around the globe — as it should be" said Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International's USA Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty. "The United States stands with a shrinking 'execution group' — and must move to place itself among the over 100 countries that have come to see this practice for what it is — a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel and degrading punishment."

More than two-thirds of the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice; in the past decade an average of over three countries a year have abolished executions.

More people are executed in the Asia-Pacific region than in the rest of the world combined. Fourteen countries in the region still retain the death penalty and have carried out executions in the past 10 years, with China far and away the largest executioner in the world.

Amnesty International holds that the death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.  

"Mongolia is yet one more country that is taking a vital step to end this cruel and anachronistic practice," said Moye. "Our hope is that Mongolia will be a model not only for every other country in the Asia Pacific region but for the world and especially for the United States, which continues to execute prisoners despite a trend that has seen nearly 30 countries in the last decade end the practice."

In 2011, 43 prisoners were executed in the United States, including Troy Davis in Georgia, despite serious doubts raised about his guilt.

The Mongolian Parliament approved a bill aimed at scrapping the death penalty by a large majority. Amnesty International campaigned extensively for the bill.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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