Human Rights: Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Papua New Guinea’s repeal of the death penalty

Geneva, January 21, 2022.- I warmly welcome the vote by Parliament in Papua New Guinea on 20 January to repeal the death penalty.

There have been no executions in Papua New Guinea since 1954 and the death penalty was abolished in 1970. However, it was reinstated in 1991 and people continued to be sentenced to death. This makes Parliament’s decision all the more important, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening public confidence that those found guilty after trials following due process and in line with human rights standards will receive fair, proportionate and consistent punishment.

Papua New Guinea joins a global trend away from use of the death penalty. Some 170 out of 193 UN Member States have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it. I hope Papua New Guinea’s example will encourage those remaining States that retain the death penalty to take similarly progressive and courageous steps to abolish it, including by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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