On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly voted 104-54 with 29 abstentions in favor of UN Resolution 62/149, which calls for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. The non-binding resolution was previously passed by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee in November 2007. The US voted against the resolution, joining with Syria, Iran, China and other states who argued that the ban would infringe on nations' sovereignty. However, Israel, the European Union, and other anti-death penalty states supported the bill, which states that capital punishment "undermines human dignity." The UN has been a consistent advocate for the outright suspension or abolition of the death penalty Under-Secretary-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze applauded the progress that has been made on the issue in February 2010.
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Learn more about the United Nations and the laws governing the death penalty from the JURIST news archive, and read commentary on the UN death penalty moratorium from Richard C. Dieter in Hotline.