UN Chief says death penalty for terrorism is often unfair

Death sentences for terrorism are often handed down after unfair trials by special courts that disrespect human rights and the rule of law, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday in remarks commemorating World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Image shows the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

According to a report from The Associated Press, Mr Ban says the execution of “terrorists” can only make matters worse for human rights activists who see such punishments as cruel and unacceptable in the 21st century.

He also added that records show capital punishments always portrays the “executed terrorists” as “martyrs” to those who believe in their cause.

About 65 countries in the world have failed to abolish the death penalty, citing its need as a deterrent to terrorism and related offenses.

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane practice. It has no place in the 21st Century,” Ban said, according to the AP report. “To be legitimate and effective, counter-terror measures, like all security operations, must be anchored in respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

In addition, the UN Secretary General cautioned countries who trample on human rights through claims that they’re taking measures against political uprisings or “suspected terrorism”.

“Let us be clear: participation in peaceful protests and criticism of a government — whether in private, on the Internet or in the media — are neither crimes nor terrorist acts. The threat or use of the death penalty in such cases is an egregious violation of human rights,” the 72-year-old said, adding that “maintaining the rule of law and respect for human rights — even in the face of terrorism and violent extremism — is an obligation that will boost society’s ability to address terrorist threats.”

In a 2014 remark at the special event tagged “Best practices and challenges in implementing a moratorium on the death penalty,” co-organized at UN Headquarters by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN, Mr Ban said: “Together, we can finally end this cruel and inhumane practice everywhere around the world.

“[Yet], I remain very concerned, however, about shortcomings with respect to international human rights standards in countries that still apply the death penalty.”


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