Swiss advances UN resolution on death penalty ban

The UN resolution on capital punishment has been voted on every two years since 2007. Keystone / Justin Lane

Switzerland and Mexico have spearheaded talks on a resolution at the UN General Assembly to advance a moratorium on capital punishment.

This content was published on December 17, 2020 - 12:29

Some 123 UN member states adopted the resolution at the General Assembly on Wednesday. The resolution – which has come before the General Assembly every two years since 2007 – contains amendments such as abolishing the discriminatory application of the death penalty against women. It also calls for the death penalty not to be used for anyone under 18 years of age at the time they were sentenced.

The resolution aims to encourage more states to place a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty in their countries. 

Four countries voted yes to the resolution on the topic for the first time. In a press releaseExternal link, the government said this was the most important support ever given to this initiative at the UN General Assembly. Some 49 states continue to apply the death penalty. 

The universal abolition of the death penalty is one of Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities. In July, the Swiss government spoke out against the US over its decision to resume federal executions after a 17-year interruption.

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