Death Penalty

The Advocates for Human Rights opposes the use of the death penalty throughout the world.

International Advocacy
We serve on the steering committee of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, an alliance of more than 150 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities, and unions from around the globe.

We chair the World Day Against the Death Penalty working group. (The World Day Against the Death penalty is held each year on October 10.)

We are active with the World Coalition’s advocacy and play a leadership role with the organization. We have presented at the World Coalition’s annual General Assembly on issues, including the death penalty as cruel, unusual and inhuman punishment; death penalty education; and reparations for exonerees.

We conduct international advocacy at the United Nations and African Commission. The Advocates makes submissions to U.N. human rights bodies on the death penalty, including reviews of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Malaysia, Japan, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Jamaica, Malawi, and the United States. These reports highlight issues in these countries, such as:

  • Execution of juvenile offenders;
  • Death sentences for non-violent crimes, such as drug offenses;
  • Use of cruel and inhuman methods of execution, such as stoning;
  • Harsh death row conditions;
  • Discrimination; and
  • Lack of an adequate remedy for the wrongfully convicted.

The Advocates also participates in on-the-ground advocacy at the United Nations in Geneva during these reviews.

To learn about key issues, click here.

The Advocates educates about the death penalty. We have produced the Death Penalty Abolition Toolkit, consisting of an international fact sheet, U.S. fact sheet, quiz, take action guide, resource guide, glossary, and testimonials. Our staff and volunteers frequently make presentations and participate in panels about the death penalty.

Efforts in The Advocates' Home State of Minnesota
The past decade has seen several attempts to revive the death penalty in Minnesota, an abolitionist state since 1911. In the latest attempt, bills were introduced in the Minnesota legislature in 2003 and again in 2004. The Advocates and Minnesotans against the Death Penalty  responded, and lined up witnesses to testify against the measure. Witnesses included religious leaders, murder victims’ family members, lawyers, and exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth. The bills failed to make it out of either legislative chamber. Since that time, there have been no viable attempts to reinstate the death penalty. The Advocates remains poised to oppose any efforts.