Country: South Africa
Delegate Name: Hannah Weber
South Africa for the HRC
The Death Penalty
Mattawan High School
South Africa’s Position on the Death Penalty
The death penalty is a highly controversial issue across the globe because of the morality involved. A big part of that is the question is it okay to say someone deserves to die for their actions? Recently, more and more countries, including South Africa, have banned and/or stopped practicing the death penalty. The countries that use the death penalty have restrictions that vary from murder, rape, etc, while some are for cases of adultery. The United Nations as a whole has expressed a dislike for the death penalty; however, the HRC questions if it should be abolished and if not, what limitations should be placed on it.
There are a few international standards that have been put forth such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on the UN Approach to Rule of Law Assistance. The ICCPR is used as a global bill of rights, one of them being the right to life and human dignity, without considering the criminals who commit unspeakable crimes and don’t deserve the right to life; especially if they stripped another person of that right. This document gives all people a right to life, which South Africa believes is a very good thing in most circumstances; however, there are some circumstances when a person shouldn’t have the right to life.
Capitol punishment was abolished in South Africa in 1995; however, there has been a push for reinstatement by the public ever since. In the Acta Criminologica: African Journal of Criminology and Victimology, it is shown in a poll that over 50% of voters think that capital punishment is appropriate for murder, rape, and treason, and almost 30% of voters think that child stealing, kidnapping, and robbery with aggravated circumstances are worth crimes of capital punishment. Though capital punishment does not include genocide accusations that have been aimed toward South Africa, capital punishment is not genocide, and if the public and government deem it appropriate, it should be reinstated.
South Africa believes that the death penalty should be allowed because some crimes are severe enough that the person who committed those crimes should suffer the consequences. In articles such as the IPPR, inherent human dignity is one of the few factors that supports capital offenders receiving a punishment other than the death penalty. The IPPR states “To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”