The seventh Resolution on a universal Moratorium on the death penalty was adopted by the UNGA Plenary Session on 17 December. Every two years the resolution is proposed by a group of countries, including Italy, which has always been at the forefront of this campaign. The resolution received 121 votes in favour, up from 117 in 2016. It is the highest number ever recorded on this issue at the plenary session.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, said: “The UN vote confirms Italy’s firm belief that it is possible to work to free the world of the death penalty seen as the utmost sanction and an alleged deterrent. By adopting the Resolution, the International Community has clearly signalled its determination to continue along this path also at a time of strong tensions and escalating violence. Italy nurtures Cesare Beccaria’s far-sighted legacy and will continue to be committed to talk an ever-growing number of Countries into suspending capital punishment.”
The seventh UN Resolution contains some very positive and important amendments compared to the text of 2016, which increase its value. In particular, the resolution states the need to: ensure that a death sentence is never decided in a discriminatory manner; provide mandatory legal aid for those charged with capital offences; call on governments to abolish the mandatory application of the death penalty from their national legal systems.
The UN resolution is a remarkable achievement which rewards the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and its entire diplomatic network. A key role is also played by cooperating with civil society organizations, namely Amnesty International, Comunità di Sant’Egidio and Hands Off Cain, which form part of the “MAECI-Civil Society Political Task Force on the death penalty.”