Only five states persistently execute people: Amnesty International

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A small number of countries continue to carry out the death penalty although the number of people executed has not gone up, except in China.

That's what Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law at Amnesty International said at United Nations headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Presenting the organization's annual report on the death penalty, she said the number of countries that have carried out executions this year and last year remained 21.

According to Ms Brown, of these states, the five that are responsible for the vast number of executions are China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

"Those five countries consistently show up as the top executors year after year although we are seeing even there some drops with the exception of Iraq where we actually double the number this year than we had in 2011 although if you go back a couple of years, they also had quite a large number. So, again, most executions are being carried out by a small number of states that are persistent in their defence of the death penalty and that's something that we need to challenge." (30")

Ms. Brown said that many governments that continue to execute people after at least two decades of moving away from capital punishment, say that the people they govern support the death penalty.

She stressed that on the issue of the death penalty, which is irrevocable and where human beings can make mistakes, it's particularly crucial for governments to lead the way in abolishing it.

Gerry Adams, United Nations

Duration: 1'36″

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