Thursday, 25 February 2010

South Korea: "Lost opportunity" to abolish death penalty

Statement from The Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
25 Feb, 2010

South Korea: ADPAN regrets the Constitutional Court decision to uphold the death penalty

The Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) that is currently attending the 4th World Congress against the Death Penalty in Geneva regrets today's decision by South Korea’s Constitutional Court to uphold the death penalty.

In a five to four ruling, the Constitutional Court stated that death penalty did not violate "human dignity and worth" protected in the Constitution.

South Korea has lost an opportunity to lead on abolition in the region. This decision now goes against a general worldwide trend towards abolition. More than 70 per cent of countries have a moratorium on executions or have abolished the death penalty. It is particularly disappointing given South Korea has not executed in over 12 years and has joined many other countries in the world that have become abolitionist in practice. There are currently 57 people on the death row in South Korea.

Asia holds the record for the highest number of executions in the world. ADPAN representing a regional voice for abolition calls on South Korean government to take a lead and follow other countries in the region that have abolished death penalty: the Philippines in 2006 and the Cooke Islands in 2007.

The Anti Death Penalty Asia Network(ADPAN) is a cross-regional network made up of over 40 members including lawyers, NGOs and human rights activists from 22 countries. Members are attending 4th World Congress against the Death Penalty which is being held in Geneva from 24 – 26 February.

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