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: