Stop the Death Penalty: the World Decides

Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty

Press release on the World Day against Death Penalty



In June 2001, 52 international NGOs gathered in Strasbourg for the first World Congress Against the Death Penalty that adopted a resolution urging all countries to establish a society respecting life and without the death penalty. WCADP was born out of this campaign on May 13, 2002. People began to observe the World Day against Death Penalty on October 10.


Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) held a press conference on the eve of the World Day against Death Penalty, observed on October 10 of each year, urging Taiwanese government to actively move towards abolition of the death penalty to demonstrate its commitment to join the rest of the world.  



A worldwide campaign


European Union Council of Ministers met in June 16~18, 2007, and decided to include the issue of moratorium of the death penalty in the agenda of the 62nd UN General Assembly (UNGA). The proposal will be discussed at UNGA’s third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committee starting October 8, 2007.


This initiative immediately gained support from the World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP) and Amnesty International (AI), and has evolved into a worldwide campaign to push through a resolution on global moratorium, marking a milestone in the movement to end the death penalty.


Global situation: A world without death penalty is feasible


    After years of campaign, a world without death penalty has been proven feasible. According to an AI report, 130 countries (two thirds of the world’s total) have no death penalty, either de jure or de facto. In 2006, only 25coutries carried out executions, of which 91% occured in a handful of states: China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the United States. In terms of regions, death penalty is almost non-existent in Europe, only six countries had executions in Africa in 2006, and the United States is the only country in the Americas that still has executions since 2003. Global total of executions has been declining, from 2,148 in 2005 to 1,591 in 2006.


Stop the Death Penalty: the World Decides


Moritorium has become a global phenomenon. Back in 2000, Community of Sant'Egidio and Amnesty International obtained more than five million signatures in support of their Moratorium 2000 campaign. In an effort to push through a moratorium resolution at UN’s third Committee, the WCADP is having a signature drive now. Please see the attachment for the form to join.


By unofficial estimates, there is a good chance of the third Committee’s adopting this resolution.  (International lobbying is still undergoing. The number of nations supporting this cause is likely to keep increasing.) This resolution on global moratorium, if passed, is likely to stir up heated discussion globally that will, in turns, motivate countries yet to abolish the death penalty to seriously consider doing so, or adopting moratorium as an interim measure.    


Death penalty in Taiwan: improving but not quite there



























Death penalty situation in Taiwan has been improving – consistent with the global trend – ever since year 2000 when Taiwan president Chen Sui-Bian declared his commitment to moving towards abolition.


During the martial law era (1949-1987), Taiwan probably had the most provisions/crimes carrying the death penalty. In the 1990s, there were still 89 offenses with mandatory (absolute), and 108 with discretionary (optional) death penalty.  Starting 2006, Taiwan no longer imposes absolute death penalty, but there are still 52 crimes punishable by death. 


There are 28 death row inmates in Taiwan as of October 2007. The number of executions carried out per year has been decreasing over the past decade, from two digits to one. Last year (2006) there was zero execution.


Stop the Death Penalty: TAIWAN Decides

Though not a member of the United Nations yet, Taiwan is a constituent of the global village. As such, Taiwan could benefit from thorough public debate on the death penalty from the perspective of human rights. In view of the global movement to abolish the death penalty, Taiwan – in its pursuit for a UN membership -- should take this opportunity to re-examine its commitment to the universal values of human rights that are upheld by the UN.

Taiwan has not had any execution for almost two years, since the end of 2005. This is an opportune time for Taiwan authority to announce a moratorium as a first step to a holistic approach to total abolition by refining relevant laws and devising supportive measures. Taiwan should not be absent from this global movement.

Calling for moratorium in Taiwan

In observance of this World Day against Death Penalty, hundreds of NGOs around the world are calling for moratorium in one voice.

TAEDP hereby makes appeals to the Taiwan authority for the following:

1.Before a total abolition de jure of the death penalty, President Chen should deliver on his previous commitment to end the death penalty by announcing a moratorium in Taiwan. For inmates currently on death row, the president should pardon them or commute their sentence to life imprisonment.

2.The Minister of Justice should refuse to sign execution orders and should proactively engage in the amendment of relevant laws.

3.A government cannot relinquish its duty to protect victims of crime. Cabinet should devise a comprehensive system to protect them in collaboration with government agencies as well as social service organizations.


Chinese Version:和全世界同步,敬請簽署【中止死刑執行】之連署