Position Paper

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Committee: Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Committee Topic: Universal Abolition of the Death Penalty Country: The Kingdom of the Netherlands Institution: Forman Christian College University The death penalty has always been a controversial global issue and has thus been discussed in the UN repeatedly. Since ancient times, the death penalty has been used as a method of punishment for a variety of crimes. Before there was proper legislation and regard for human rights, people were executed for even minor crimes like cutting down a tree. This created problems in law-enforcement as juries would hesitate in convicting petty criminals because of the dire severity of the punishment. Thus, the use of the death penalty was limited. After The Second World War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared the ‘right to life’ to be an absolute principle. Thus, abolition of the death penalty started to happen. Most of Western Europe followed this transition quite smoothly. By the 1980s, most of Western Europe abolished the death penalty and currently, only 58 countries still retain the death penalty. However, treaties like the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights and the European and American Conventions on Human Rights put rigorous regulations on the death penalty, rather than completely abolishing it. The United Nations called for a global moratorium on executions in 2007 and this has been followed by most of the members of the UN. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a strong policy about complete abolishment of the death penalty. The last civil execution in the kingdom was back in 1870, way before the UN even existed. Civil executions were abolished in 1878 and military executions in 1983. Article 114 of the Dutch Constitution Law completely eradicates the death penalty and also prevents it from being added to

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