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Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Papua New Guinea’s repeal of the death penalty

GENEVA (21 January 2022) – I warmly welcome the vote by Parliament in Papua New Guinea on 20 January to repeal the death penalty.

There have been no executions in Papua New Guinea since the 1950s* and the death penalty was abolished in 1970. However, it was reinstated in 1991 and people continued to be sentenced to death. This makes Parliament’s decision all the more important, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening public confidence that those found guilty after trials following due process and in line with human rights standards will receive fair, proportionate and consistent punishment.

Papua New Guinea joins a global trend away from use of the death penalty. Some 170 out of 193 UN Member States have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it. I hope Papua New Guinea’s example will encourage those remaining States that retain the death penalty to take similarly progressive and courageous steps to abolish it, including by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

ENDS

*The original text has been amended to better reflect the time since the last execution was carried out.

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Rupert Colville + 41 22 917 9767 / rupert.colville@un.org or
Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / ravina.shamdasani@un.org or
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / elizabeth.throssell@un.org

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