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The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished Worldwide Essay

In Bangkok, Thailand, in August, 2009, two prisoners were executed by the Department of Prisons just because of their possession of only 114,219 methamphetamine tablets[1]. Do you think it is right for a judge to put someone guilty to death? Do you think execution will deter drug trafficking effectively? The death penalty is wrong in all cases. Worldwide studies show that it does not have a deterrent effect any stronger than that of other strict but humane punishment. Brutalized by death penalty, everyone involved can be psychologically affected. Therefore, many groups think the death penalty should be abolished worldwide.

Firstly, the European Union (EU) has the opinion that the executions of Mr. Bundit Charoenwanich and Mr. Jirawat Phumpruek by lethal injection in Bangkok’s Bang Kwang Prison on August 24th are wrong, cruel, and immoral. It is regrettable that these executions bring an end to a near six year-long stopping of the use of the death penalty in Thailand. In fact, EU disagrees with the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances and has consistently tried to prevent people in every part of the world from using it. This is based on EU’s belief that the universal abolition of the death penalty is needed for human dignity protection and human rights development. No wonder why the death penalty has been abolished in all parts of the European Union. EU also says publicly that it wants the Royal Thai Government to abolish the death penalty completely and to establish the stopping of executions as strongly advised by United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

Since death penalty denies the right to life affirmed in Article 3 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Commission for Human Rights has also called for the progressive limitation of the use of the death penalty as the way towards more civilized punishments. Secondly, killing in is a sin in all religions. Especially in Buddhism, the national religion of Thailand, the first of Five Precepts is to abstain from destruction of life. The aim of all religious people is to be passionate, forgiving, and merciful. Therefore, to deal with a serious crime like drug trafficking, another alternative of more civilized punishment should be promoted.

Beheading, hanging, burying alive, burning to death, crucifixion, shooting, electrocution, etc. are all out-of-date and barbaric practices. Not only the one who is executed but also the one who is required to carry out the death sentence of any kind always feels awful. Since, naturally, we are unwilling to kill other people and hesitate before doing so; firing squads have only one rifle with a live round in it, and no one knows supposedly which gunman has the live round and which one has the blank cartridges. Also in electrocutions, it is usual to have a row of buttons only one of which is connected. Then, when the time for execution comes several people push these buttons, but it is impossible to know exactly whose button push actually electrocutes the criminal.

Nowadays, more than two-thirds of the countries worldwide have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. While 58 countries retained the death penalty in 2009, fortunately most did not use it. Out of 58 countries, only 18 were known to have carried out executions, killing a total of at least 714 people[2]. However, this figure does not include the thousands of executions that were likely to have taken place in China, which is estimated to execute hundreds of people each year but refuses to tell figures on its use of the death penalty. At least 17,000 people worldwide were under sentence of death at the beginning of 2010. According to information published by Amnesty International in 2010, 95 countries had abolished capital punishment altogether. The other 58 retained the death penalty in active use. Sadly, some countries, including Thailand, retain the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

As Henry Ford said, capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty. Death penalty is useless. No execution is necessary to deter drug offenders. Statistics and studies after studies indicate that it has zero per cent record on this punishment speak for itself. Worse than that, wrong execution is possible. It is believed that, because of mistake, as many as 3 of every 100 criminals executed may be innocent. If a drug trafficker is mistakenly killed, his family is hurt, in addition to the one who executes him. Therefore, a life sentence can be the capital punishment of all crimes –no matter how serious they are– including drug trafficking.

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[1] Richard Barrow. “Two Prisoners Executed in Thailand.” Thai-Blogs. 5 December 2010. http://www.thai-blogs.com/2009/08/24/two-prisoners-executed-in-thailand/?blog=5

[2] The international secretariat contributors. “The death penalty in 2009


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