UN adopts global moratorium on death penality, India opposes

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (UNI) Even while India shied away from taking a position in favour of a moratorium on death penalty, a resolution towards that has been adopted at the UN General Assembly's Third Committee.

The resolution was adopted yesterday by 99 countries in favour while 52 countries, including India, opposed it and and 33 were abstentions. The General Assembly is expected to endorse the decision in a plenary session in December. The landmark decision had cross-regional support and was co-sponsored by 87 states from around the world.

Despited India voting against it, the country has a chance at the General Assembly plenary session, to vote in favour of a moratorium.

A moratorium could pave way for an objective assessment of the practice of death penalty past and future.

The call for a global moratorium on executions by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee is a "historic resolution and major step towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide", Amnesty International said in a statement here today.

The resolution -- adopted by the UN's highest political body with universal membership -- is a clear recognition of the growing international trend towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty, endorsed by the UN Secretary-General," said Irene Khan.

"It is a crucial step forward in creating a death penalty free-world -- as envisaged by the General Assembly three decades ago." India has many convicts lodged in jail facing capital punishment including Mohammad Afzal accused of Parliament attack.

Urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to lose the opportunity at the UN, eminent people like Justice Krishna Iyer, Justice Leila Seth, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Mohini Giri, Upendra Baxi, Shyam Benegal, Fali S Nariman and others had written an open letter last month.

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