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Australian statement for the High Level Panel Discussion on the Death Penalty, 23 February 2021

Human Rights Council – 46th Session

High Level Panel Discussion on the Death Penalty

23 February 2021

Australian Statement

Madam President, High Commissioner, distinguished members of the panel.

Australia would like to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for convening this important discussion. 

Australia’s own experience with abolition exposes the flaws in the argument that the death penalty deters crime.

Our last execution occurred in 1967, and the death penalty was progressively removed in the years that followed.  Since then, crime rates have continued to rise and fall in response to a wide range of factors.  In other words, abolition of the death penalty in Australia has had no appreciable impact on crime rates, strongly suggesting that the death penalty had no deterrent effect.

It is our view that even if there was a deterrent effect, the death penalty has such significant flaws that its use is never justifiable.  It brutalises human society, is degrading, and is an affront to human dignity.  The death penalty is irreversible, and miscarriages of justice cannot be rectified.  It is used disproportionately against the poor, people with intellectual or mental disabilities, and minority groups.  It has no place in a modern society.

Australia urges all countries that maintain the death penalty to cease executions and establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

206 Words

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