Friday, December 14, 2007

Some good news for a change

Amid all the news of war and torture and bombings around the world, every so often civilisation takes a small step forward for a change. In July 2007 Rwanda became the 14th African country to abolish the death penalty, while in Europe only Belarus now retains it. Now New Jersey is becoming the first US state to abolish the death penalty since the Supreme Court reinstated its use in 1976. Good for them!

The number of executions in other US states is also decreasing, as is the number worldwide, although the USA still ranks sixth behind those other great champions of human rights, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan, in the use of capital punishment. Between them, these six countries accounted for 91% of all known executions in 2006.

Incidentally, there is something I never understand: why is it that many of those who define themselves as "pro-life" are often strongly in favour of capital punishment? It seems they value unborn lives more highly than born ones. There is an interesting debate on the religious ethics of this here.

Making It Better:
Amnesty International


Troika said...

You make a good point about those who are "pro-life" often being strongly in favour of capital punishment.

I can only assume that the excuse they would give would be that those on death row at least had a hand in the reasons for them being there.

It is always good news when the death penalty is abolished somewhere; I have never understood how anyone can condone it.

Unfortunately, whenever I have a debate about this with anyone who is pro-capital punishment, I always feel like killing them.

Private Beach said...

An alarming number of murder convictions have been reversed in recent years following the re-examination of evidnce in old cases using modern DNA testing techniques. This makes me wonder how many innocent people were wrongly executed before DNA tests became available.

Anonymous said...

Am still laughing at the last paragraph of troika's comment. I know how he feels!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it the other way around ? Many opponents of the death penalty are also enthusiastic about abortion rights ?

Private Beach said...

I don't think supporting abortion rights should be equated with being enthusiastic about abortion itself.

Anonymous said...

Huh ? Off hand I can't think of anyone who is enthusiastic about abortion. Can you ?