The UK would like to thank the main sponsors of L.37 for presenting this resolution, which addresses the important issue of the death penalty and in particular its resumption in some parts of the world.
The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We are firmly of the view that it is both inhumane and unnecessary. While no criminal justice system is infallible, the use of the death penalty is often arbitrary, unfair and in breach of international standards. The application of the death penalty can also disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.
We reject the assertion that the death penalty is a just response to drug-related crime. Not only does the application of the death penalty undermine human dignity, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value. We also reject the argument that death penalty is a just response to terrorism. When states execute, they risk surrendering their main defence against extremist ideology.
This resolution urges states to protect the human rights of all persons facing the death penalty and other affected persons and to comply with their international obligations. In states where the death penalty is still applied, we continue to push for greater transparency about the use of the death penalty in line with international standards, as defined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We deplore any failure to observe these standards.
The main sponsors have approached this draft resolution in a constructive and collaborative way. We welcome the incorporation of a number of UK suggestions.
While States may be able, in extremely limited circumstances as set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to denounce or withdraw from an international instrument, we nevertheless deplore any consideration of the reintroduction of the death penalty by States that have undertaken an international obligation to abolish it. Equally, we condemn states that are considering reintroducing the death penalty, following abolition or the imposition of a moratorium through domestic law.
The UK will vote in favour of draft resolution L.37 and we encourage all other states to do so.