New Zealand and the death penalty

7 April 2015, 14:54 UTC | New Zealand
Death Penalty Conference December 1977 © Amnesty International

New Zealand abolished the death penalty for all offences except treason in 1961. It was a great start, but we weren’t satisfied. So Amnesty International supporters in New Zealand continued to fight for every last trace of the death penalty to be removed from our statutes.

We were finally successful when a Private Member's Bill that we pushed for came into effect on 26 December 1989. Since that day, no crime committed can warrant punishment by death in New Zealand.

In 2007, New Zealand was one of nine countries to co-author a worldwide initiative to ban all executions. Launched on the International Day against the Death Penalty (10 October), New Zealand also committed to build support for a Global Moratorium on the Death Penalty which would be presented to the United Nations General Assembly.

We spoke and the world listened. Two months later in December 2007, 104 nations had voted to adopt the resolution. Yet our work doesn’t end there. While a total of 141 countries have abolished the death penalty in practice or law so far.

Together, we will continue fighting to protect the right to life - a basic human right.

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