Capital Punishment Current Affairs - 2019

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India abstains from voting on Torture Goods

India has abstained from voting on United Nation General Assembly (UNGA’s) resolution aimed at examining options to end trade in goods which are used for capital punishment and torture. India stated that it is unacceptable to place death penalty on par with torture that it firmly believe that freedom from torture is a human right which must be respected and protected under all circumstances.

Key Highlights

UN General Assembly adopted resolution on- Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards. The resolution was adopted by 193 member assembly with a recorded vote of 81 in favour, 20 against, and 44 abstentions.

Arguments by India

India argued that incorporating capital punishment into scope of this resolution raised concerns about making an attempt to place it on par with torture.

India stressed that the country remains firmly committed to prevent torture and other such punishment (like cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment).

India stated that where capital punishment is statutorily provided for, due process of law is followed.

It warned the assembly against current resolution, that it may even start a duplicative parallel process related to goods being used for torture and capital punishment and that it will further create ambiguity by conflating different issues.

In India, capital punishment is a statutory provision, but at the same time it is used in rarest of rare cases. Also, acts of torture are punishable in India under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Indian judiciary system serves as a bulwark against any such violations of human rights.

Malaysia to abolish the death penalty for all crimes

Malaysia’s Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to abolish death penalty for all crimes and halt pending executions. This decision was taken in pursuance of strong domestic opposition to colonial practice for being barbarous and unimaginably cruel which has put terrible stain on the country’s human rights record. It is also in line with move away from capital punishment in the rest of the world.

Key Facts

Currently capital punishment in Malaysia is mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms, treason and drug trafficking, among other crimes. The death penalty in Malaysia is exclusively carried out by hanging and has been legacy of British colonial rule. More than 1200 people are on death row in Malaysia.

Background

At present, the sentence of death penalty has been abolished in 103 countries, while penalty of capital punishment is still in 56 countries. There are still provisions for capital punishment in countries like China, India, America, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan and Sri Lanka. United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution in 62nd session in 2007 to impose universal restrictions on the death penalty.