Blog of Rights

World Day Against the Death Penalty

By Nahal Zamani, Human Rights Program at 2:42pm

Tomorrow marks World Day Against the Death Penalty, and it is only fitting that a global call was issued to abolish the practice. We join the ambassadors of the European Union (EU) who gathered today to call on all nations to abolish the cruel practice.

Ambassador John Bruton, the head of EU delegation to the U.S., stated: "The EU not only considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhumane, but it also fails to deter criminal behavior and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. Miscarriages of justice are inevitable in any legal system – and any miscarriage of justice that results in the death penalty is irreversible."

In a statement released today, John Holdridge, Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project noted:

The need to end this barbaric practice is underscored by the fact that eight men were released from death row in 2009 and that new evidence has come forward that a man executed in Texas in 2004 could not have set the lethal fire for which he was condemned to die, meaning that an innocent man almost certainly has been put to death at the hands of the state.

The death penalty remains the penalty of the poor. The practice is plagued by many problems, including racial and geographic bias in the decisions to try cases. Recently, the ACLU presented a statement before the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw, Poland, highlighting the human rights violations that plague the death penalty system in the U.S.

The U.S. needs to end this practice, in order to restore our country's standing and image in the world as a beacon for human rights and democratic values. The ACLU calls upon President Obama and the 35 states around the country that still permit the death penalty to put an end to this costly practice that does not make us any safer.

Learn more about the ACLU Capital Punishment Project at: www.aclu.org/capital/index.html

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