A Brief Review on Death Penalty

Of all the rights we have as humans, the right to live is the most essential of all. Death penalty otherwise known as capital punishment is defined as the lawful practice of putting someone to death for crimes specified by the state. This form of punishment has been practiced by most societies in the past and still exists in some countries today.

As of last year, 58 nations are still practicing capital punishment while 98 countries have totally abolished it for all crimes, 7 maintained it for war crimes, and 35 countries declared de facto or they haven’t applied it for more than 10 years. Asia accounts for 90% of all the executions in the whole world.

Death penalty is a very controversial issue in different states and countries with positions varying from one culture or political ideology to another. The European Union and the Council of Europe have forbidden capital punishment within its member states. The United Nations on the other hand, have only conceded to pass a global moratorium on executions but with a future prospect of abolition. This is because four of the most populous countries in its membership – United States, China, India and Indonesia voted against the resolution and is still practicing capital punishment up until now.

Pro-death penalty advocates dispute that capital punishment is a crime deterrent. It creates fear in criminals to avoid committing a crime and makes sure that justice is served to those who committed heinous crimes such as rape, child murders, torture and serial killers. Asian countries practicing death penalty has strong public support because it means that the government is just and is taking action to above mentioned crimes. In fact, the issue receives little merit from both the media and the government.

Anti-death penalty advocates, however, argue that the penalty violates human rights because it is discriminatory to minorities and the poor, who don’t have access to good legal representation. Some countries even apply death penalty to acts that are not violent like sexual relations with consent and homosexuality. According to international laws, this is a clear violation of the basic human right to live and choose. Advocates also believe that enforcing death penalty to drug related cases will not ultimately solve the problem. The only victims are the migrant workers used as pawns for the whole drug operation. Opposition to death penalty insists that the death penalty law, in practice, only applies to the underprivileged while the rich and the powerful, uses the law to prevent verdict.

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