Take a moment to vote for the Abolish the Death Penalty as an Idea for Change in America at Change.org. (You will have to register at Change.org to vote.) If the idea becomes one of the top ten, Change.org will host an event in Washington, DC, where each of the 10 ideas will be presented to representatives of the media, the nonprofit community, and to relevant officials in the Obama Administration. After the announcement, Change.org will mobilize the full resources of their staff, their 1 million community members, and their extended network of bloggers to support a series of grassroots campaigns to turn each idea into reality.
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice.
It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 2008, at least 2,390 people were executed in 25 countries around the world and 8,864 people were sentenced to death in 52 countries. Amnesty International reports that executions almost doubled in number from 1,252 in 2007. 95% of all known executions were carried out in only six countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan and Iraq.
In December 2007 and 2008 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolutions 62/149 and 63/168, calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The United States of America voted against.
The United States of America is slowly turning against capital punishment. In recent years, it has been abolished in New Mexico, New Jersey and New York. Yet, 52 people were executed in 2009. It needs to stop, on a federal level, and in all states where capital punishment is still in practice.
Innocent people have been executed, including Todd Willingham in 2004.
The death penalty:
- denies the possibility of rehabilitation and reconciliation.
- promotes simplistic responses to complex human problems, rather than pursuing explanations that could inform positive strategies.
- prolongs the suffering of the murder victim’s family, and extends that suffering to the loved ones of the condemned prisoner.
- diverts resources and energy that could be better used to work against violent crime and assist those affected by it.
- is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it. It is an affront to human dignity.
- should be abolished in the USA.
The Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break is March 15-19, 2010 in Austin, Texas. Speakers include four innocent, exonerated former death row prisoners who together spent more than 30 years on death row for crimes they did not commit. The event is designed for young people, but it is also open to the general public.