The Minister said:
“It is the longstanding policy of the UK Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. There is no evidence of its deterrent value and any miscarriage of justice is irreversible and irreparable.
“Since I launched the Government’s Strategy for Abolition of the Death Penalty in October 2010, we have continued to take action against our three goals, taken all appropriate opportunities to raise the issue with our priority countries and I have raised it with a number of my counterparts including in Asia and the Caribbean.
“There have been several positive developments over the last year which I welcome. At the end of last year, there was record support achieved at the United Nations General Assembly with an increase in the number of countries voting in favour of the Resolution on the Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty. And this year we have seen China reduce the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty from 68 to 55, and Trinidad and Tobago rule the mandatory death penalty for felony murder unconstitutional. The UK is keen to see this increasing international trend towards abolition of the death penalty continue.
“The UK Government is absolutely committed to its efforts to achieve its objective of global abolition of the death penalty. We call on all retentionist states to formally establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view to abolition. In the interim, we urge all retentionist countries to ensure that EU minimum standards on the use of death penalty are met.”