UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION FOR A UNIVERSAL MORATORIUM
ON THE USE OF THE DEATH PENALTY
On 17 November 2020 the UN Third Committee, which works specifically on human rights issues,
voted by a very large majority in favour of the resolution entitled “Moratorium on the use of the
death penalty”. The resolution was adopted by 120 States, 39 voted against it, 24 abstained and
10 did not take part in the vote. These results confirm the global trend towards the abolition of
the death penalty.
Challenges for the plenary vote
The stakes of the vote on the resolution remain particularly high in view of the plenary session to be
held in mid-December. In 2018, 13 countries had changed their vote, both positively and negatively.
In the current context, mobilization work around the vote of this resolution therefore remains crucial.
Main developments compared to 2018
In this particular year, marked by the Covid19 pandemic, 10 countries1 were unable to take part
in the vote, whereas there were only 5 absences during the 2018 plenary session. Among them,
7 countries are abolitionist (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Gabon, Palau, Senegal, Seychelles, Vanuatu)
and 6 had voted in favour of the resolution in 2018 (Burkina Faso, CAR, Gabon, Palau, Somalia,
Vanuatu).