The Special Rapporteur’s Thematic Report on the Death Penalty
Read the Special Rapporteur’s Report on the Death Penalty and the Prohibition of Torture here! You can also watch webcasts of the SRT delivering his report before the UN General Assembly and delivering a press conference following the presentation of the report. The official UN Press Release is available here.
Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez presented his thematic report on the death penalty and the prohibition of torture to the Third Committee of the 67th UN General Assembly on October 23, 2012. In the report, the SRT called on States to consider whether the death penalty fails to respect the inherent dignity of the human person, and amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. The SRT noted that, although the death penalty may not constitute per se a violation of the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, State practices of abolishing or restricting capital punishment indicate a growing tendency to consider it contrary to this prohibition. The SRT recommended that a comprehensive legal study be conducted on the possible emergence of a customary norm prohibiting the use of the death penalty under all circumstances.
Special Rapporteur AWARDED DEATH PENALTY FOCUS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD FOR CONTINUING EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE THE DEATH PENALTY
In the spring of 2014, the Special Rapporteur received the prestigious Human Rights Award from the California-based NGO Death Penalty Focus, during the organization’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner in Los Angeles. The Award recognizes the Special Rapporteur’s work in promoting the abolition of the death penalty system worldwide as well as his long-standing role as a human rights lawyer, activist, and educator.
ENGAGING WITH states AND ADVOCATING TO END EXECUTIONS WORLDWIDE
The Special Rapporteur has built on the momentum created by the publication his report by continuing to engage with Governments and to advocate for the elimination of the death penalty extensively. In May 2014, the Special Rapporteur joined other UN independent human rights experts to condemn the recent imposition of mass death sentences in Egypt. Aside from efforts focused on the death penalty in the US, which are detailed below, the Special Rapporteur regularly engage with Governments and advocate against the use of the death penalty throughout the world, including Sudan, India, Iran, North Korea, China, Saudia Arabia, and other States.
PUBLICATION IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS BRIEF
The ATI supported the SRT in submitting a briefing paper on the death penalty report to the Human Rights Brief in order to make its content accessible to practitioners around the world in a summarized and practical format. The paper highlights the Special Rapporteurs’ conclusions regarding the application of the international prohibition of torture to the death penalty and the observable growing tendency of States to abolish the practice because it is considered contrary to this prohibition.
EVENT ON RACE, TORTURE, AND EXECUTION: A HUMAN RIGHTS ANALYSIS OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN U.S. PRISONS
October 10, 2013 – On the eve of World Day Against the Death Penalty the ATI organized an event together with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on Race, Torture, and Execution: A Human Rights Analysis on the Death Penalty in U.S. Prisons at American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. The event featured a panel discussion and was also sponsored by Howard University Law School and the International Federation for Human Rights.
A VIDEO of the panel discussion is available here!
The event featured a panel discussion as part of the launch of a joint Report by CCR and FIDH that was released on October 10, 2013 to commemorate the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The report examines the United States’ use of the death penalty through an international human rights framework, which takes a close look at the use of the death penalty in Louisiana and California, considers deficiencies in existing legal processes, examines conditions on death row, and assesses whether the two States’ use of the death penalty conforms with international prohibitions against discrimination, torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
As part of his follow-up efforts, Juan E. Méndez, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, joined the event with a PRESENTATION that discussed the conclusions reached in his 2012 thematic Report on the Death Penalty and the Prohibition of Torture.