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Death penalty

The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We believe it undermines human dignity, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.

Where a British national is facing the death penalty, we work closely with Reprieve on their behalf. We will make representations against the use of the death penalty at whatever stage and level is judged appropriate.

The travel and living abroad section contains more information on the help we can provide to British nationals abroad.

On 11 October the UK Government launched our strategy on Global Abolition of the Death Penalty. Read the Executive summary here, or download the full strategy here. Ask Foreign Office Minister for Human Rights Jeremy Browne a question on the death penalty via Facebook. Watch the Minister’s speech from the event below, on on YouTube.

We focus our work to abolish the death penalty through three main channels:

Bilateral initiatives and projects

We regularly raise the death penalty and individual cases of British Nationals facing the death penalty directly with governments, including China and the USA.

We also fund work in the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Asia from our Human Rights Strategic Programme Fund and bilateral programme funds – working with key NGO partners such as The Death Penalty Project.

The European Union

We also work hard with our European Union partners for the global abolition of the death penalty. We fully support the death penalty being raised in the EU’s political dialogues with a wide range of countries. We also support the EU in raising individual cases around the world.

The United Nations

Plans are being made to achieve a successful resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the United Nations General Assembly in autumn 2010, building on the excellent results achieved during the previous two resolutions in 2007 and 2008, where 105 countries voted in favour of a moratorium on executions.

We are keen to see even more countries vote in favour of the resolution this year, as we consider this is a key step towards global abolition of the death penalty.

UK Government strategy

Anti death penalty campaigners in the USA (© Getty images)

The UK’s policy and guidance on the death penalty

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