15 Jul 2009

Call on PNG to abolish death penalty

12:37 pm on 15 July 2009

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on the Papua New Guinea government to abolish the death penalty.

In a joint letter to the justice minister and attorney general, Allan Marat, the two human rights organisations criticised statements by Papua New Guinea government officials calling for steps that would enable it to carry out executions.

Dr Marat told journalists recently that his office was drawing up regulations necessary to conduct executions.

This came after recent violent crimes including the alleged killings of four children by their mother that led to statements by officials that they were considering reinstating executions.

Papua New Guinea has not carried out an execution since 1954, despite parliament's reintroduction of the death penalty for wilful murder in 1991.

The death penalty has been legally abolished by 94 countries, and only 25 countries, including the US and China, continue to carry out executions.