India votes against resolution on moratorium on death penalty



United Nations: India voted along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and China in opposing a resolution in the United Nations for a moratorium on the death penalty, but the proposal received support from a majority of nations.

The non-binding resolution received 107 votes in favour, 38 against and 36 abstentions, with the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, along with India among those who voted against it.

The resolution called on the 192 member states of the United Nations to "establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty".

A similar resolution was adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, which received 104 positive votes.

Observers noted that an increase in the number of "yes" votes indicated that the movement against death penalty is getting stronger, which is also reflected in the decline of negative votes from 54 to 38 and a rise in abstentions from 29.

However, India and those opposed to it said even if supported by a majority of countries, the resolution was tantamount to imposing your view on others.

"Each state has the right to establish a legal system and punish criminals according to its laws," Acquino Vimal, an Indian diplomat told the human rights committee of the General Assembly, yesterday.

Noting that Indian law excluded pregnant women and children from this kind of punishment, Vimal pointed out that India only applied the death penalty in the "rarest of rare cases" when a crime "shocked the conscience of society".

The resolution welcomed "decisions made by an increasing number of states to apply a moratorium on executions, followed in many cases by the abolition of the death penalty," and "steps taken by some countries to reduce the number of offences for which death penalty can be imposed".

Countries that were opposed to the resolutions tried to introduce some amendments to "balance" the language.

One such proposed alteration was "to consider establishing a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty".

Another amendment was "recognising that many member states retain the death penalty on their statutes for the most serious crimes".

The majority of nations rejected these changes to the text of the resolution.

The resolution was sponsored by countries from Africa, Latin America, and Asia but mainly the thrust came from the European nations.

Asserting that the death penalty was compatible with international law if carried out subject to due process and rule of law, diplomats from the "no" camp accused the sponsors of imposing their will and interfering in the internal matters of other nations.

The representative from Libya described it as the "yolk of colonialism," and the Japanese diplomat pointed out that the majority of Japanese supported the death penalty in some cases.

Countries that are against the death penalty "have no right to impose their views on others," said the representative of Singapore. "This is no way to change a state's view".

PTI