10 Oct 2011

Amnesty International working to clear Pacific of death penalty

8:13 pm on 10 October 2011

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand is calling on the leaders of the four Pacific Island countries that have the death penalty to remove it from legislation.

A spokesperson, Margaret Taylor, says although it's not been practised in the Pacific in the past 30 years, the death penalty remains law in Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Fiji.

Earlier this year five Papua New Guinea men were sentenced to death for murder.

Ms Taylor says it shows a level of justice that the penalty hasn't been applied but the PNG sentencing demonstrates it can be at any time.

"We're actively encouraging those Pacific Island leaders to take that step. Often countries might not get around to it. It's the last thing on their things-to-do list, that they haven't put the death penalty into practice so why do they need to take that next step. But I think if they can show leadership and the Pacific can on this issue then the world would be a better place."

Margaret Taylor says Amnesty International is collecting signatures for a petition to be sent to the leaders of the four countries.