I have always hated the death penalty and I can't help but look upon supporters of it as people who don't see the bigger picture. Sorry if you're one of them, but that's how I feel.
I'm proud to live in a country that doesn't kill people for their crimes. It makes me furious when I hear my fellow Brits calling for peadophiles or murderers to be killed with cries of 'bring back hanging' and the like. I think to myself; do they really know what they're asking for? Do they really think that hanging a person for their crime would have an effect on crime rates?
Because it wouldn't and it doesn't. Execution makes no difference to crime, it doesn't deter people (otherwise there would be no criminals, surely?)
Some criminals can be put back on the right path with rehabilitation and so killing them outright because of their crimes would be a waste and such a shame. I don't feel that killing a criminal can be justified - no matter how big their crime, how strong the evidence against them etc.
The death penalty is a violation of two fundamental human rights, as laid down in Articles 3 & 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
- the right to life, and
- the right not to be tortured or subject to any cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment
Human rights effect us all; none of us deserve to have them violated and there is no justification for our basic human rights to be ignored, no matter how grave the circumstances may be. Ever.
So it was a bitter sweet feeling when I read this report from Amnesty International that shows that the only country in Europe to still execute people is Belarus.
Belarus are letting Europe down and they must be made to see sense and stop the barbaric treatment of human beings. Help to stop the death penalty in Belarus by clicking here.
714 people were executed in 2009 (this doesn't include the likely thousands that China executed as they wouldn't release actual stats.) We still have a very long way to go until execution is stopped (if it will ever be) but it feels like some progress is being made.
You can read the report by clicking here.