We know that, together, we can end the death penalty everywhere.
We are making tremendous progress – today, 22 states in the U.S. and two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty. Join us.
Amnesty In Action
ChangE IS POSSIBLE
For 40 years, Amnesty International has been campaigning to abolish the death penalty around the world. When Amnesty started its work in 1977, only 16 countries had totally abolished the death penalty. Today, that number has risen to 106 – more than half the world’s countries. We campaign to stop executions of specific individuals in the U.S. and around the world. Take action in urgent cases today.
why we must act now
Human rights violations
All people have the right to live, and we all have the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. These are human rights that people have, regardless of whether they have been convicted of crimes. The death penalty violates these basic rights.
STANDING UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT
The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception – regardless of who is accused, the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution. Amnesty International believes than the death penalty should be abolished, once and for all.
The death penalty is too flawed to fix.
- It is irreversible and mistakes happen. The risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, more than 160 prisoners sent to death row in the U.S. have later been exonerated or released from death row on grounds of innocence. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.
- It does not stop crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim is false: there is no evidence that the death penalty uniquely deters crime or improves public safety.
- It is often used within unjust legal systems. In many cases recorded by Amnesty International, people were executed after being convicted in unfair trials, without legal representation. In some countries, death sentences are mandatory punishments for certain offenses, meaning that judges are not able to consider the particular circumstances. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The death penalty is no way to impart justice.
- It is discriminatory. The death penalty is applied disproportionally against people of color and poor people, in a racially biased way.
- It is used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, like Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.