This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
On Friday, 10 October, 2014 The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka H E John Rankin issued a statement to mark The World Day Against the Death Penalty.
“Today is the fourteenth commemoration of The World Day Against the Death Penalty.
The UK – along with fellow EU Member States – is a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. Its use undermines human dignity; there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value to serious crime; and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.
August this year marked 50 years since the last execution in the UK. Abolishing the death penalty may be neither easy nor always immediately popular. But two prominent cases of miscarriage of justice in 1950 and 1953 persuaded the UK Parliament to restrict the use of the death penalty. It was finally abolished from the statute books in 1998.
In January last year, Sri Lanka was shocked and saddened by the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek in Saudia Arabia. With others, the UK had called for clemency, not least because Rizana was a minor at the time of the alleged murder. Around the world, many wept that she had not been shown compassion.
Later this year, the UN General Assembly will vote on the fifth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The trend is clear: 2012 saw the biggest vote yet in favour of a worldwide moratorium on executions, by 111 states. Although Sri Lanka still has legislative provision for imposing the death penalty, judicial executions have not been carried out since 1976. I hope that the memory of Rizana’s death will help persuade the Sri Lankan government to vote in favour of a moratorium and, eventually, join the increasing ranks of countries that have abolished it altogether.”
Follow our social media campaign against the death penalty #nodeathpenalty on https://twitter.com/UKinSriLanka and https://www.facebook.com/bhccolombo .