Pressure builds for PNG and Tonga to abolish the death penalty
Pressure from Amnesty International for PNG and Tonga to follow Nauru and abolish the death penalty.
Nauru has abolished the death penalty, leaving just two Pacific nations who still carry it on their books.
They are Tonga and Papua New Guinea, with the latter in recent years planning to start applying it as a deterrent to violent offending.
Both countries are facing international pressure to drop the death penalty.
Lucy Smith reports.
Last month, Nauru updated its Crimes Act from the original legislation put in place in 1899 and among the measures was the abolition of the death penalty. Organisations like Amnesty International say Tonga and PNG should follow suit. Spokesperson Margaret Taylor says the death penalty does not solve lawlessness.
MARGARET TAYLOR: "Amnesty International encourages governments around the world to look for solutions that work. I believe that most people think the death penalty is justice. It isn't it's a form of revenge. It will not stop the thing they want to stop. Personally i think how can we expect killing people who kill people to work? It just doesn't work."
Margaret Taylor says in places like PNG the issue is much deeper than just crime rates, and has to do with those who enforce the law as well. The PNG government is still decide what method it might use and the deputy opposition leader, Sam Basil, says if it came to a vote he couldn't back its use.
SAM BASIL: "I believe that from my district 30 percent want it and 70 percent don't want it So because I represent that 70 percent and more that gave their views to me I will have to represent their views on the parliament floor. If I had my way I would be supporting death penalty."
Mr Basil says even though Nauru has abolished the death penalty they are two different countries with two very different crime rates.
SAM BASIL: "If you carry out a survey about how many people die in PNG every week compared to Nauru people being killed by criminals and people being intentionally killed by people? have you carried out a survey comparing on that before you compare Papua New Guineas stats to Nauru?"
In Tonga, the Justice Minister Vuna Fa'otusia believes the threat of the death penalty is effective in discouraging some people from committing awful crimes.
VUNA FA'OTUSIA: "It's not good for the society to have those people around but not only that it's a costly excercise to keep them in prison so might aswell put the to the death. I don't see any problem just keeping it in the book, it may come in handy some time."
Vuna Fa'otusia says they have not discussed the death penalty in Tonga for a long time and it hasn't been used in decades. Amnesty International's Margaret Taylor says their efforts to have all Pacific countries erase the legislation allowing the use of the penalty will continue.
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