UN Report Condemns Use of Death Penalty

By: David Tranter

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights repeated its call for a global moratorium on executions following an April report which shows that the U.S. uses the death penalty in an arbitrary and racist way.

The author of the report, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, a Senegalese lawyer appointed by the commission to investigate extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions worldwide, wrote that "race, ethnic origin and economic status appear to be key determinants of who will, and who will not, receive a sentence of death" in the U.S.

Mr. Ndiaye based his report on meetings with federal officials and state officials from New York, Florida, Texas and California, and on visits to prisons.

At the same time as more and more countries around the world have abolished it, the U.S. has rapidly increased its use of the death penalty in recent years.

The death penalty was reinstated in 1976 by the Supreme Court on the grounds that safeguards against the arbitrary and unfair use of the death penalty were in place in all states. But the U.N. report confirms again what research over the past two years has repeatedly shown - that this is a lie. The death penalty is as unjust, racist and antipoor as it ever was. And it must go.