Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 28th Regular Session

High Level Panel Discussion on the Question of the Death Penalty

Australian Statement

4 March 2015

Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in today’s discussion. We thank the speakers and panellists for sharing their views and experiences. These provided a valuable insight into the substantial challenges in realising the universal abolition of the death penalty, in particular those related to regional efforts in achieving this outcome.

Australia strongly supports the universal abolition of the death penalty and considers it an inhumane form of punishment. There is an extensive body of international research that disproves any suggestion that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime. Any miscarriage or failure of justice in its use is irreversible and irreparable.

Australia welcomes the general global trend to the death penalty’s abolition. However, we must not let the light of progress blind us from recognising the substantial obstacles that remain in realising the death penalty’s universal abolition.

In Australia’s immediate region – the Asia-Pacific – deep challenges remain, with a real risk in backsliding on progress. We recognise that those who commit serious crimes need to pay for their crimes with lengthy jail sentences. But they should not need to pay with their lives.

Australia would be interested in the panel’s views on what practical, tangible efforts could be undertaken to address the drivers for the death penalty’s use in supporting regional efforts to abolish it in Asia.