Amnesty International Ireland’s death penalty campaign

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

International death penalty trends are unmistakably towards abolition. Use of the death penalty worldwide has continued to shrink, and use of the death penalty has also been increasingly curtailed in international law. Since 1990, an average of three countries each year have abolished the death penalty, and today over two-thirds of the world's nations have ended capital punishment in law or practice.

Amnesty International’s campaign against execution of juvenile offenders, people under 18 when the crime was committed, has been particularly successful. In 1990 8 countries, China, Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen, still had laws that allowed them to execute juvenile offenders. Since that time 7 have removed these laws. The United States was the last to do so when the Supreme Court ruled against it on the 1st March 2005. Iran continues to execute juvenile offenders and eight were executed in 2005. In 2004, Pakistan reintroduced the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Though Yemen and China have outlawed the execution of juvenile offenders, there are reports of juvenile offenders in both countries being on death row.