UN Resident Coordinator’s Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty, October 10

“The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It lies at the very heart of international human rights law.

The last execution in Papua New Guinea occurred in 1954, over half a century ago, putting Papua New Guinea in line with 140 out of 153 UN member states, which have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. On behalf of the UN, I urge that the de facto moratorium on the death penalty, in line with the global trend towards abolition, must be maintained and formalized.

There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime while there is ample evidence that it results all-too-frequently in miscarriage of justice. It is the certainty of punishment, not the severity, that has proven to be an effective deterrent to crime. 

I echo the remarks of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein concluding his country visit to Papua New Guinea in February 2018 that “transparent societies with a strong emphasis on the rule of law, accountability and human rights attract opportunities for growth, and make for more stable societies.”

The UN works with the Government of PNG, civil society and other development partners to strengthen rule of law and to uphold respect for human rights in the country. We also work with the law enforcement agencies and justice system to put in place mechanisms to deal with serious issues such as human trafficking and people smuggling, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and sorcery accusation related violence.

The UN system in Papua New Guinea reaffirms its commitment towards the  abolition of the death penalty in Papua New Guinea.”

Gianluca Rampolla