United Nations General Assembly resolutions calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty

The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/149 on 18 December 2007, calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions. The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 104 UN member states in favour, 54 countries against and 29 abstentions.

Although not legally binding, the adoption of resolution 62/149 by the main UN deliberative body with universal membership carries considerable moral and political weight.

The resolution reaffirms in unequivocal terms the commitment of the UN towards abolition. Resolution 62/149 expresses deep concern about the application of the death penalty. It calls upon states that still maintain it to, inter alia, respect international safeguards guaranteeing the rights of those facing the death penalty, to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed and “to establish a moratorium on executions with the view to abolishing the death penalty”.

The resolution is a reminder of UN member states' commitment to work towards abolition of the death penalty. It is also an important tool to encourage retentionist countries to review their use of the death penalty.

A second UNGA resolution on the death penalty was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2008. It reaffirms the content of the 2007 resolution and welcome the report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of the 2007 UNGA resolution 62/149. It also requests that the UN General Assembly will consider the matter of the death penalty at its sixty-fifth session in 2010. The support to second resolution increased by significantly, as 106 UN members states voted in favour, 46 against and 34 abstained.

The strong, cross-regional, support reflects a historically undeniable trend towards abolition of the death penalty in all regions of the world.

Amnesty International is calling on countries that still use the death penalty to embrace the call from the UN General Assembly and establish an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing capital punishment,

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Read the text of the groundbreaking resolution 62/149 adopted by the UN General Assembly

See how countries voted on UNGA resolution 62/149 in December 2007

See the text and the voting list of the second UNGA resolution on moratorium on the use of the death penalty, adopted on 18 December 2008

Read the report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of the 2007 UNGA resolution