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India says sorry moratorium on death is not acceptable, votes against a UN resolution

On November 17, at the ongoing 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly on the third committee India has voted against a UN resolution to establish a moratorium on death penalty on the ground that it contravened statutory law in India.

Following an ‘intense discussion’ on this issue, the UN committee approved an amended draft resolution calling for a moratorium on death penalty, by a recorded 115 votes in favour to 38 against, with 31 abstentions.

The United Nation’s office put out a press statement on the decision of the third committee approving six draft resolutions amid competing views on sovereignty, customary norms in use of Death Penalty.

It had said that an intense discussion on the international legal standing of the death penalty and national sovereign rights to determine domestic judicial systems dominated Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) proceedings today, as delegates approved an amended draft resolution calling for a moratorium on that practice, by a recorded 115 votes in favour to 38 against, with 31 abstentions.

The text was one of six covering a range of issues relating to the promotion and protection of human rights. Before the vote, the Committee approved an amendment reaffirming the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, which passed by 76 votes in favour, 72 against and 26 abstentions.

On India it said, “The representative of India said every State had a sovereign right to determine its own legal system, which was why he had voted for the amendment. He had voted against the resolution because it contravened statutory law in India.”

However, India voted for the amendment in the resolution, which “reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, including determining appropriate legal penalties, in accordance with their international law obligations”.

The amendment reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems. The representatives of the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and some other countries regretted that the amendment was passed.

The representative of the United States of America said that capital punishment was legal under international law, but added that methods of execution designed to inflict undue pain should be prohibited. The representative of Singapore, in explanation of a vote before the vote, said the amendment expressed the strong will of the membership and reaffirmed States’ rights, regardless of the content of the resolution. He expressed regret that it had been viewed as hostile, as it was unfair that the reaffirmation of a fundamental principle was seen as such.

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By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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