Executions in 2023 highest in nearly a decade, says Amnesty

Violence around the world will reach its highest level in almost a decade in 2023, with a sharp increase in the Middle East, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

1,153 known abuses last year were recorded by Global Rights Monitor since 2015 – with an increase of more than 30% by 2022. Despite this, the number of countries that commit murder is the lowest on record, according to a UK-based NGO.

These figures do not include the “thousands” believed to have been killed in China, or other killings believed to have taken place in North Korea and Vietnam, where data is not available. “The country’s lowest number of recorded deaths is the highest known in nearly a decade,” Amnesty said in its annual report on the subject.

He said that this is a “complex” killing in Iran, where the number is increasing by almost 50% every year. Iran’s authorities “have resorted to executions for drug-related offences,” with sanctions affecting marginalized communities, said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s global director.

China, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the United States were the other four deadliest countries last year. The report also notes a 20% increase in the number of death sentences handed down worldwide.

However, figures show that only 16 countries recorded executions – an unprecedented level. Pakistan abolished the death penalty for drug-related crimes and Malaysia abolished the mandatory death penalty for most crimes.

‘Strong Beliefs’

In the US, homicides rose for the second year in a row, from 18 to 24. Five states carried out these executions, all by lethal injection.

The report highlights the introduction of charges for mass shootings in two US states and a new law in South Carolina aimed at concealing the identities of those involved in shootings. Callamard said, “Many states in America have shown an alarming belief in the death penalty.”

Twenty-three states have abolished the death penalty entirely and another 14 have not carried out any executions for at least a decade. Callamard added, “The discriminatory and arbitrary use of the death penalty only aggravates the human rights violations committed by our criminal justice system.”

The minority of countries that insist on using it must go ahead and cancel this penalty immediately.

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