Global executions fell by almost one-third last year to the lowest figure in a decade, Amnesty International said in its 2018 global review of the death penalty released on Wednesday, ONA reports.
The statistics assess known executions worldwide except in China, where figures remain classified as a state secret.
Following a change to its anti-narcotics laws, executions in Iran – a country where the use of the death penalty is rife – fell by a staggering 50%. Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia also showed a significant reduction in the number they carried out. As a result, execution figures fell globally from at least 993 in 2017, to at least 690 in 2018.
“The dramatic global fall in executions proves that even the most unlikely countries are starting to change their ways and realize the death penalty is not the answer,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
However, Amnesty International found increases in executions in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the USA. Thailand carried out its first execution since 2009, while Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena declared he would resume executions after more than 40 years, posting an advert seeking executioners in February 2019.
“Japan, Singapore and South Sudan reported their highest levels of executions in years, and Thailand resumed executions after almost a decade; but these countries now form a dwindling minority. To all the countries that still resort to the death penalty” Secretary General said.
“Slowly but steadily, global consensus is building towards ending the use of the death penalty. Amnesty has been campaigning to stop executions around the world for more than 40 years – but with more than 19,000 people still languishing on death row worldwide, the struggle is far from over,” said Kumi Naidoo.
According to the Secretary General 's words, at the end of 2018, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.