Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. Although 2013 saw more executions than in previous years and several countries resuming executions, there was also progress towards abolition in all regions of the world. Below, see the top 10 things you need to know from our newest report:
In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.
The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.
There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.
More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.
By Andrea Hall, Mid Atlantic Regional Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
How much is it worth to keep executions moving forward? What is the price of our machinery of death? In addition to the expense that is above and beyond keeping a prisoner jailed for life, there are the intangibles – the toll on the families of both the victims and the condemned, as well as on the prison staff, and the cost of perpetuating the cycle of violence in our society.
In the case of Edgar Arias Tamayo, executed tonight in Texas, the price may be much higher. We may very well have put our relationships with foreign countries, as well as the safety of Americans living and traveling overseas, at risk.
Ian Lekus of Amnesty USA’s LGBT Human Rights Cogroup contributed to this post.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has been called “the most dangerous city in the world.” For sex workers in the city, the risk of violence is multiplied many times over.
Despite the fact that sex work is legal in Honduras, many groups and individuals view their actions as immoral. Those who murder sex workers believe they can literally treat these human beings as garbage to be disposed of. Such violence takes place against the broader backdrop of widespread gender- and sexuality-based violence that imperils women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) persons all through Honduras.
By Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International Caribbean Researcher. This piece originally appeared on CNN World’s Global Public Square.
Four years ago, a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean island of Haiti, leaving an estimated 200,000 people dead and more than 2 million homeless. It was a disaster on an almost unprecedented scale. And, for a country already wracked by poverty with so many institutional weaknesses, it was a complete catastrophe.
“This killing is not just a crime against a an individual but also against the society as a whole. Every country should enjoy a free press in which journalists and media owners are allowed to exercise independence in collecting and reporting news without fearing for violent reprisals.”
- Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Last month, I posted a blog entry asking if the November 25 elections in Honduras would be a victory for human rights. Unfortunately, my question was violently answered on December 7, when two unidentified gunmen murdered journalist Juan Carlos Argeñal. In addition to owning a local television station, Argeñal was a correspondent for Radio Globo and Globo TV.
By Stacy Suh, Member Women’s Rights Coordination Group
As I write, the outcome of the November 24 presidential elections in Honduras is still being contested. There were eight candidates to the presidency, out of which two have been expressing concerns on the official results provided by the Electoral Tribunal and respective complains have been filed. Regardless of the eventual outcome of these legal challenges, Amnesty International is still calling upon the next president to commit to protecting human rights, as outlined in an open letter to all candidates.
By Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA Co-Chair, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
It took Miriam Isaura López Vargas several weeks to piece together what happened to her after she was tortured and raped by Mexican soldiers. On February 2, 2011, the 30-year-old mother of four had just dropped three of her children at school in the city of Ensenada, in northern Mexico, when two men wearing balaclavas forced her into a white van and took her away.
“They tortured me. They repeatedly put wet cloth over my face and poured water over it so I couldn’t breathe. They gave me electric shocks,” she explained.
The recent attack on the human rights defenders (HRDs) of Pro-Búsqueda brings back painful memories of wartime abuses in El Salvador.
November 16 marked the 24th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter at the Central American University (UCA) in 1989. This brutal attack shocked the world, creating pressure for the Salvadoran government to finally negotiate an end to the war.
Just two days before this anniversary, however, Salvadorans were given a horrible reminder of the type of wartime atrocities that they had hoped were behind them.
For social justice activists, the speed with which news now crosses the globe creates a tremendous opportunity to respond to human rights issues as they emerge. We can now find out about and alert the world to abuses almost as they happen, and people can act immediately to support human rights defenders and others on the front lines of crises.
However, the sheer number of people who struggle for the most basic human rights can be overwhelming. Although it is easy to get dismayed, we must stay heartened that we can make a difference in an individual’s life even from thousands of miles away.