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Death penalty a false promise, says Amnesty International

Published:Thursday | March 27, 2014 | 9:24 AM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Human right watchdog Amnesty International has declared that the death penalty is nothing but a false promise when it comes to tackling crime.




It says it notes that governments in some Caribbean countries keep threatening to bring back executions, while ignoring genuinely effective long-term criminal justice solutions.



There have been frequent calls in Jamaica for hanging to resume, especially in light of the high murder rate.



However, Amnesty International’s Director for the Americas Erika Guevara-Rosas says there is no credible evidence that executions are a deterrent to crime.



She says the continued emphasis on capital punishment does nothing but divert resources from the real problems.



She says to root out crime and violence, Caribbean governments need to address underlying issues like the uncontrolled access to guns, weaknesses in police investigations and a lack of resources in the criminal justice system.



She was speaking against the background of Amnesty International’s launch of its annual review of the death penalty worldwide.



Amnesty International says in 2013, there were no executions in Latin America and the Caribbean, but 15 of 33 countries in the region have yet to legally abolish the death penalty.



At least 15 new death sentences were imposed in the region in 2013, compared to 12 in 2012.



Meanwhile, Amnesty International says excluding China, where the number of executions is kept secret, 778 executions were known to have been carried out in 2013, compared to 682 in 2012.



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