By UN News Centre.

10 October 2015 – The death penalty does not deter drug crimes, nor does it protect people from drug abuse, said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reiterating the world body’s ongoing call to abolish the practice altogether, while emphasizing that if used, that it be applied only to the crime of intentional killing.

“Curbing drug crimes is far more a matter of reforming justice systems and investing in prevention through the public health system, including access to treatment,” declared Mr. Ban in his message for the World Day Against the Death Penalty, marked each year on 10 October.

He notes that seven decades ago, only 14 countries had abolished the death penalty. Today, 82 per cent have either introduced moratoria by law or in practice, or have abolished the death penalty. This year’s observance of the World Day against the Death Penalty draws attention to this progress and focuses on the death penalty and drug crimes.

“International law limits the application of the death penalty to the ‘most serious crimes.’ This means that it should only – if at all – be applied to the crime of intentional killing,” said the Secretary-General.

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