From one continent to another or within the same region, the path to abolition is not straightforward. Main trends.
Reduction of 30% in the number of executions, decrease in the number of countries having recourse to the executions: human rights organisation Amnesty international publishes its 2018 report on recourse to the death penalty. The organisation describes the global trend towards the abolition of the punishment but highlights the “regressive measures observed in some countries”. Regional summaries
the continent is continuing its journey toward the abolition of the death penalty
The only instances of the death penalty recorded in this region are in the United States, which has conducted 25 executions. The death penalty is in force in 30 states, 11 of which have not conducted any executions for at least a decade.
Amnesty underlines that the continent is continuing its journey toward the abolition of the death penalty. Guyana is, for the first time since Amnesty began keeping statistics in 1979, the only country in the Caribbean to have delivered two death sentences.
In 2018, Vietnam executed at least 85 death row inmates. It is one of the countries that executes the most people at a global level. The organisation notes that “the number of executions in Japan and Singapore was the highest recorded in more than ten years; however, this number has declined in Pakistan”.
The data collected by Amnesty indicates that several hundreds or even thousands of people are on death row in Malaysia (1275), Bangladesh (~1500), Pakistan (at least 4864) and Sri Lanka (~1300).
In Vietnam, the life conditions of those sentenced to death are particularly difficult, “they can be akin to torture or other ill-treatment, including prolonged isolation in unventilated cells, a lack of food and drink, along with prisoners being chained up for 24 hours a day”.
—The Case of China.
The organisation says it is “convinced that China has, as in previous years, sentenced and put to death thousands of people, remaining at the head of the world ranking in terms of the number of executions. With the statistics on recourse to the death penalty still being classified as a state secret, it was impossible to assess the trends independently and verify the assertions of the authorities according to which the number of executions would have decreased”.
In 2018, the number of death sentences increased by 89%
Europe and Central Asia
Belarus, the regional exception.
Belarus is the only country in the region to carry out executions. Their figures have doubled, from two to four, compared to the previous year.
Those who are sentenced to death do not have access to a fair trial and some are kept in isolation.
The moratoria on executions are being maintained in Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Middle East and North Africa
Fewer executions, more convictions.
The number of executions decreased by 41% compared to the previous year, thanks to strong declines recorded in Iran and Iraq. In 2018, the number of death sentences increased by 89%. Egypt declared 61% of these convictions: 717 people were sentenced to death, the highest figure ever recorded in this country.
Amnesty estimates that Iran pronounces hundreds of death sentences, but regrets not having “been able to obtain confirmation for reliable statistics”.
Burkina Faso abolishes the death penalty for ordinary crimes. Gambia progresses towards the abolition. At the same time, Mauritania and Nigeria extend the scope of the death penalty, and countries that had not conducted any executions in 2017 do so in 2018 (Sudan, Botswana).
In March 2018, the sentence of 16 prisoners, who were detained for more than 10 years on death row in a prison in Zimbabwe, was commuted by President Mnangagwa. He reaffirms his opposition to the death penalty during World Day Against the Death Penalty.