Philippine Standard Time
Monday, June 10, 2019, 2:18:54AM

In Defense of the Right to Life: International Law and Death Penalty in the Philippines

A study by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and Dr. Christopher Ward, SC, Australian Bar, Adjunct Professor, Australian National University


Zimbabwe Considers Abolishing Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch |, February 15, 2024
Death penalty incompatible with right to life
OHCHR |, January 31, 2024
Debunking narratives for a return of the death penalty
WCADP |, November 13, 2023
Jury in Pittsburgh synagogue trial to begin deliberating death penalty
The New York Times |, July 31, 2023
Singapore executes a woman for first time in almost two decades
The Guardian |, July 28, 2023
Ghana votes to remove death penalty, calling it sign of ‘inhumane’ society
The Washington Post |, July 26, 2023
Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk after Ghana’s Parliament votes to abolish death penalty
UN OHCHR |, July 26, 2023
Parents in South Korea who kill newborns now face death penalty after law passed
The Straits Times |, July 19, 2023
Capitol Hill Democrats introduce bill to end federal death penalty
Catholic News Agency |, July 19, 2023
North Koreans risk death penalty for using South Korean language
Scottish Legal News |, June 30, 2023
Arizona Man Is Freed After 28 Years on Death Row
New York Times |, June 16, 2023
Two Australians facing death penalty in Vietnam granted clemency
Al Jazeera |, June 06, 2023
Japanese Supreme Court upholds mans death sentence for Manila murders
The Japan Times |, June 05, 2023
Zimbabwe’s new bill that imposes death penalty for ‘unpatriotic acts’
Africa Feeds |, June 01, 2023
Iran hangs three on drug charges amid criticism
Al Jazeera |, May 21, 2023
Singapore: OHCHR calls on authorities to halt imminent trafficking execution
United Nation News |, April 25, 2023
Washington state eliminates death penalty from law
CNN |, April 21, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
Malaysia ends mandatory death penalty for serious crimes
BBC News |, April 03, 2023
Surge in executions of drug offenders in 2022, more on death row
Al Jazeera |, March 16, 2023
Pope condemns Irans use of death penalty against protesters
Reuters |, January 09, 2023
Pope Francis’ prayer intention for September: ‘Abolition of the death penalty’
CBCP News |, September 01, 2022
Singapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for clemency
CNN |, July 07, 2022
Malaysia to abolish mandatory death penalty
Al Jazeera |, June 10, 2022
Missionary priest praises Central African Republic for abolishing death penalty
Crux |, June 02, 2022
Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, revoke death sentence
Un News |, May 31, 2022
Rights office welcomes Zambia’s pledge to abolish the death penalty
UN News |, May 22, 2022
Kazakhstan Finalizes Commitment to Abolishing Death Penalty, Submits Ratification of Protocol to UN
The Astana Times |, March 28, 2022
Papua New Guinea abolishes death penalty
JURIST |, January 24, 2022
‘Just Mercy’ author urges Utah Legislature to abolish death penalty
Deseret News |, January 20, 2022
Macron calls for worldwide end to death penalty on 40th anniversary of French abolition
France 24 |, September 10, 2021
Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty
The New York Times |, March 24, 2021
Death penalty debate reemerges in Nevada after past stalls
Fox 5 (Las Vegas) |, March 24, 2021
Virginia becomes first state in US south to abolish death penalty
ALJAZEERA |, March 24, 2021
Abolish the federal death penalty
Chicago Sun-times |, March 01, 2021
Family members of murder victims speak out against the death penalty
KPVI News 6 |, March 01, 2021
Bill To Repeal Death Penalty Filed In Wyoming Legislature
Kgab |, March 01, 2021
State Senate Votes to Abolish Death Penalty
Newsradio 1140 WRVA |, February 04, 2021
Trump administration carries out 13th, final federal execution
Aljazeera |, January 16, 2021
A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for the only woman on federal death row pending a competency hearing
CNN |, January 12, 2021
Asian Nations Reject UN Vote Against Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch |, November 24, 2020
Holy See: ‘Death penalty the most shocking thing in the world
Vatican News |, October 10, 2020
Tunisia president calls for return of death penalty following brutal killing
The Guardian |, October 01, 2020
Kazakhstan takes important step towards abolishing death penalty
Amnesty Internatonal |, September 24, 2020
US Bishops stress opposition to death penalty
Independent Catholic News |, September 23, 2020
‘Travesty of justice’: Reaction to execution of Iranian wrestler
Aljazeera |, September 14, 2020
Unpacking public opinion on the death penalty
Asia Pacific Forum |, July 28, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court’s U-turn on the death penalty
Tampa Bay Times |, May 28, 2020
Man sentenced to death in Singapore via Zoom
BBC News |, May 20, 2020
Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for crimes committed by minors
The Guardian |, April 27, 2020
Catholic leaders praise abolition of death penalty in Colorado
CRUX |, March 25, 2020
Colorado Abolishes Death Penalty and Commutes Sentences of Death Row Inmates
The New York Times |, March 23, 2020
UK urged to act over men facing death in Egypt for alleged childhood crimes
The Guardian |, March 08, 2020
Berlin International Film Festival: Iranian film about executions wins top prize
BBC |, February 29, 2020
Trump condemned after claiming very powerful death penalty would reduce drug dealing
The Independent |, February 11, 2020
Outsourcing injustice: Guantanamo on the Euphrates
Al Jazeera News |, February 04, 2020
British Isis prisoners may end up in Iraq, where death sentences are handed down without due process
Independent |, February 02, 2020
Saudi Arabia executed record number of prisoners in 2019: Report
ABC News |, January 14, 2020
Death Sentence Overturned for Pervez Musharraf, Ex-Leader of Pakistan
The New York Times |, January 13, 2020
Japan executes foreigner for first time in a decade
Independent |, December 26, 2019
The Khashoggi verdict is exactly what impunity looks like. It must be denounced.
Agnes Callamard, Opinions, Washington Post |, December 24, 2019
5 foreigners in drug case could face death in Indonesia |, December 18, 2019
Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan ex-leader sentenced to death for treason
BBC News |, December 17, 2019
Botswana urged to abolish death penalty after latest execution
The Guardian |, December 09, 2019
I Oversaw Executions. We Cannot Resume the Federal Death Penalty
New York Times |, December 04, 2019
Americans Now Support Life in Prison Over Death Penalty
Gallup News |, November 25, 2019
UN criticizes Irans use of death penalty against minors
DW |, October 24, 2019
The Death Penalty for Drugs: What Public Opinion Surveys in Asia Teach Us
Giada Girelli, Filter Mag |, October 17, 2019
Malaysia: Unfair trials, secretive hangings and petty drug convictions reveal ‘cruel injustice’ of the death penalty
Amnesty International |, October 10, 2019
Against the death penalty: barrister Julian McMahon
ABC Radio |, July 25, 2019
Malaysia’s repeal of death penalty opens deep wounds, including that of Mongolian model murder
The Independent|, July 09, 2019
Why is Sri Lanka reinstating death penalty?
DW|, July 07, 2019
Debate on death penalty not very vigorous 1 year after Aum executions
Japan Today|, July 06, 2019
Prosecutor won’t seek death penalty in death of grandmother
News 4 Tucson|, July 06, 2019
SC issues Interim Order against death penalty
Daily FT|, July 06, 2019
Latter-day Saint Church defends involvement in death penalty case
Fox13 Salt Lake City|, July 06, 2019
Death penalty debate remains muted in Japan 1 year after AUM executions
Kyodo News|, July 05, 2019
Source: Govt will not table Bill to abolish death penalty this Parliament meeting
The Star|, July 05, 2019
The murder was caught on surveillance video. The accused now faces death if convicted
Miami Herald|, July 05, 2019
Sri Lanka- Supreme Court issues interim order against death penalty
MenaFN|, July 05, 2019
Jury to consider death penalty in Chinese scholar killing
Federal News Network|, July 05, 2019
As Malaysia eyes death penalty repeal, Al Jazeera documentary explores dilemma of capital punishment
Malay Mail|, July 04, 2019
Kentucky judge declares death penalty protocol unconstitutional
Crux Now|, July 04, 2019
Jose Martinez, The Hit Man Who Confessed To Killing Three Dozen People, Avoids The Death Penalty
BuzzFeed News|, July 03, 2019
Merced County DA is seeking the death penalty. And it could get costly, experts say
The Merced Sunstar|, July 03, 2019
Activists Hold Annual Fast Outside Supreme Court to Protest Death Penalty
Spektrum News|, July 02, 2019
Kentucky judge declares states death penalty protocol unconstitutional
The Courier Journal|, July 02, 2019
Lawmakers vote to substantially limit Oregon’s death penalty
Oregon Live|, June 29, 2019
Abolish the Death Penalty?
New York Times|, June 22, 2019
The Intercept|, June 18, 2019
In Los Angeles, only people of color are sentenced to death
The Guardian|, June 18, 2019
Debunking the Court’s Latest Death-Penalty Obsession
The Atlantic|, June 17, 2019
Poll finds Californians support the death penalty — and Newsom’s moratorium on executions
The LA Times|, June 17, 2019
Using Saudi death penalty vs. children is barbaric
CNN|, June 17, 2019
Reader reluctantly accepts governor’s death penalty moratorium
The LA Times|, June 14, 2019
Saudi Teenager Faces Death Sentence for Acts When He Was 10
New York Times|, June 09, 2019
GOP Lawmakers Are Quietly Turning Against the Death Penalty
The Atlantic|, June 07, 2019
Death knell: taking a stand to abolish capital punishment
Monash University |, February 26, 2019
Germany abolishes death penalty in public vote
Independent |, November 21, 2018
Pope Francis: ‘death penalty inadmissable’
Vatican News |, August 02, 2018
One Test Could Exonerate Him. Why Wont California Do It?
The New York Times|, May 17, 2018

World News

Holy See: ‘Death penalty the most shocking thing in the world

October 10, 2020, Vatican News

On 10 October we mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The Holy See’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva reaffirms the Church’s commitment to upholding its deep belief that life is sacred and that the death penalty represents a failure for states and for humanity.

We mark the 18th World Day Against the Death Penalty in the wake of Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti.

Pope Francis had already ordered a change in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 2018 when he termed the death penalty “inadmissible.” In a section of the just released encyclical dedicated to the death penalty, the Pope goes further, calling on Catholics to work for its abolition.

We asked Archbishop Ivan Jurkovi?, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva, for his reaction to the seven paragraphs in the encyclical in which the Pope states the Church’s unequivocal opposition to capital punishment in all instances.  

Archbishop Jurkovi? describes the encyclical as “a blessing for the international organization”, as it provides strong, unequivocal statements backed by consistent behaviour as a reference and a guide.

“This is what we get from Pope Francis and also from other Popes before him,” he said.

The Archbishop, who was appointed Permanent Observer in Geneva in February 2016, said the UN watches the Holy See from this solid point of view in a changing world. He noted that often principles are upheld and then abandoned by the same people who promoted them in the first place, and he highlighted a general incapacity to be coherent and stand firm to commitments while the Church and the papacy continue to communicate a message that is consistent with the values of the Gospel.

“The problem we have at International Organizations in Geneva,” and in society at large, he said, is the perception that “certain things are just statistics and this leads us to avoid having to face a  “dramatic reality [like the death penalty] that would shock us.”

The worst sin a human being can commit

“The death penalty is the most shocking thing that exists in this world and it is juridically permitted, or allowed in many places,” he said.

Archbishop Jurkovi? quoted the great Russian writer, Tolstoy, who told of how one day he witnessed an execution and said: “Today I was the witness of the biggest sin a human being can commit in the name of justice.”

All international organizations, he reiterated, have the duty to speak clearly about the horror of the death penalty and “transmit to everybody” that capital punishment is absolutely horrible and inadmissible.

Asked to comment on the U.S. federal government's recent resumption of executions after a 17-year hiatus, Archbishop Jurkovi? said that when we speak about decisions taken by governments or public authority, it is indispensable to consider the personal responsibility of each individual who makes up the electorate.

“It is a problem of the government, but it is a problem that reflects a culture in which we do not fight our instinct of violence or desire for revenge,” he said.

Jurkovi? compared society to a plant saying that if it does not grow, if it is not vital enough to develop and it starts to decay.

“We have to grow continuosly, spiritually, socially and also culturally,” he said.

The Church stands firm in its convictions

As Christians, the Archbishop explained, we have the responsibility of taking the trends manifested by society seriously, and we need to act and promote education and awareness.

He noted positive trends in the world today in which a growing number of countries have abolished capital punishment.

This is a good tendency, he said, but said that especially for certain issues, including the death penalty, "one day certain values are promoted," and the next they fall of the shelf.

“As Church we are consistent, we stand firmly behind our convictions: this is our duty and our task every day,” he said.

The Church goes forward affirming its values

At a time when 142 countries have either abolished or observe a moratorium on capital punishment, what can the Holy See representation in Geneva do to convince leaders of nations that still uphold the practice to change course?

Archbishop Jurkovi? admitted that often he is aware that the Church affirms values that many people will not follow, even though “they are happy to listen to what we have to say.”

“In this big hall where 194 delegations are seated, they like to listen to things they will not follow,” he said, but we – the Holy See - must continue to bring the message of the Gospel, backed by what the Church is doing on the ground, especially in the poorest countries, using the highest standards and the highest convictions, as well as Divine Mercy, in order to bring healing and help the international community understand what this work is about.

“We must continue in our mission,” Jurkovi? said, knowing that words will not do everything, but repeating them with great conviction.


As a Christian and as a representative of the Church, the Archbishop revealed, he has a powerful  ‘weapon’ and it’s called “love”.

“As the representative of the Holy See at an international organization, I would introduce one word that does not exist in international organizations,” he said, noting that in Geneva everyone uses a “UN language” that contains a lot of technical, cultural and social words, but never the word “love!”

“You never find anybody using the word ‘love’ in his or her official speech,” he said.

As the encyclical, Fratelli tutti invites us to do, we must have the courage to announce the need for love in social life, Archbishop Jurkovi? concluded: “many are awaiting their copy of the encyclical, and they expect something that will be different, something that will be inspirational, and something that will help us to move ahead and be more convinced and more able to build a better society.”

World News index: