Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moratorium on the death penalty, Round 2 (fight!)

So for another year, we have the General Assembly's Third Committee debating a draft resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. This battle basically pits Europe, South and Central America vs. a coalition of small island states and habitual human rights abusers. The US shamefully hides under its desk before voting against the resolution, letting Egypt, Barbados, Malaysia and Singapore do its dirty work. Barbados and Singapore have basically been filibustering this resolution for two days, throwing up scads of amendments and making lengthy statements about how this resolution impinges sovereignty, etc.

Now, I'm against the death penalty. I think it's arbitrary and too many innocent people get executed. BUT I am also against this resolution, and it was the Egyptian delegation that convinced me. The way they did this was to introduce an amendment calling for the abolition of abortion.

Point taken, Egypt. If abortion is an issue of national law for states to decide on their own, so is the death penalty. I wouldn't want the GA to call for the abolition of abortion, which it almost certainly would if it came to a straight vote free of political influence.

I'm all in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty, but the General Assembly is perhaps not the venue to seek one.

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