What we do
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances. The organization works for an end to executions and the abolition of the death penalty everywhere.
A downward trend
Soon after its foundation in 1961, Amnesty International began sending appeals to prevent the execution of prisoners of conscience. Over time, its opposition to the death penalty has broadened to include all prisoners, regardless of the crimes of which they have been convicted.
Progress has been dramatic in the last few decades. In 1977, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Thirty years later, that number had grown to 90.
Abolitionist and retentionist countries
News and Actions
Amnesty International works extensively against the death penalty, including campaigns in individual countries, and working in cooperation with civil society.
It is a founding member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) – a coalition of more than 130 human rights organizations, bar associations, trade unions and local and regional authorities, who have joined together in an effort to rid the world of capital punishment.
Amnesty International coordinates the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN). This was established in 2006 and is made up of lawyers, parliamentarians and activists from numerous countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Amnesty International monitors developments all over the world. This is not easy. For example, the vast majority of the world’s executions occur in China but the Chinese government does not release death penalty statistics.
By monitoring available public reports, Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 21 countries carried out executions in 2012.
Death sentences and executions in 2012
Campaigning for abolition
On 18 December 2007, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions by an overwhelming majority: 104 votes in favour, 54 against and 29 abstentions. The resolution enjoyed strong cross-regional support.
In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a fourth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death Penalty.
Moratorium on executions now!