20 May 2013

UN Human Rights High Com concerned over PNG death penalty

3:20 pm on 20 May 2013

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has voiced concern about the Papua New Guinea government's plan to reactivate the death penalty.

It says resuming the death penalty, which has been dormant in PNG since 1954, would be a major setback.

In 2007, the UN General Assembly called on states to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolition.

About 150 of the UN's 193 member states have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practise it.

The High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, has written to PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill stating her concerns about the plan.

While recognising the challenge of overcoming high rates of violent crime in PNG, she says capital punishment has never been proved to be a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment.