Wednesday, December 24, 2014


The US refuses to drop the Old Testament "eye for an eye" rather than join the growing numbers of civilized countries that are more "New Testament" in their thinking.

How does that conform to the bluster about being champions of Human Rights?

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday calling for an international moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The resolution passed with a record 117 votes in favor, with the United States, along with 37 other nations, opposing the move.

Support for the resolution, which is nonbinding, has increased steadily since it was first adopted in 2007, when 104 states lodged a “yes” vote; this is the fifth time the General Assembly has voted on the issue. Last time the resolution went before the General Assembly, in 2012, it received support from 111 countries. The final tally today also shows an uptick even from Nov. 21, when the draft resolution received 114 votes in favor in the U.N.’s social, humanitarian and cultural committee.

“The numbers don’t look huge, two or three states every year,” said Chiara Sangiorgio, death penalty expert at Amnesty International, “but in time it is significant that support [for the resolution] is definitely increasing.”

This year, Eritrea, Fiji, Niger and Suriname moved from an abstention to a “yes” vote; Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati and Sao Tome-Principe also added their support. Bahrain, Myanmar, Tonga and Uganda moved from a ‘no’ vote to an abstention.

One key addition to the 2014 resolution focuses on the rights of foreign nationals who are detained or arrested abroad. The new clause calls on member states to respect their obligations under article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The convention requires that states notify a detained foreign national of their right to inform their consulate or embassy of their detention.