United Nations: UN human rights experts are invited by India’s Law Commission to abolish death penalty with the exception of terror offences and called on Indian authorities to move towards the complete abolition of capital punishment.
“I encourage the Indian authorities to implement these recommendations and to move towards the complete abolition of the death penalty for all offences,” Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns said.
The Commission had been tasked by the Supreme Court to study the issue of the death penalty in India. Indian Law Commission recognised that, while on death row, the prisoner “suffers from extreme agony, anxiety and debilitating fear arising out of an imminent yet uncertain execution,” and that “the death row phenomenon is compounded by the degrading and oppressive effects of conditions of imprisonment imposed on the convict, including solitary confinement”.
The experts also welcomed the decision to reduce the number of crimes subject to death penalty by China.
“By adopting these amendments to its criminal code, China has made progress in the right direction; this needs to be encouraged,” the UN experts noted.
“These new developments in India and China are in line with the general trend towards the abolition of the death penalty at a global level, even if there are isolated moves in the opposite direction,” Heyns said.
Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.