Foreign Minister urged to speak out against death penalty during PNG visit tomorrow

Australia’s opposition to the death penalty should extend beyond its borders, the Human Rights Law Centre has said ahead of Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s visit to Papua New Guinea tomorrow.

The PNG Government has recently announced plans to begin implementing the death penalty. The policy announcement follows public outcry in PNG after a spate of shocking crimes that received international media attention.

“Governments will not stop violence by perpetrating it themselves,” said Daniel Webb, a Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre.

“Capital punishment is a violent and ineffective response to crime. For precisely these reasons, the international community continues to progress towards its abolition. Australia should be adding its voice to this push where ever and whenever it can,” Mr Webb said.

Two thirds of the word’s nations have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Australia was recently elected to the UN Security Council on the promise to be a ‘principled advocate of human rights for all.

“The Foreign Minister’s visit is an opportunity for Australia to show principled leadership in our region on this fundamental human rights matter. Minister Carr should leave his PNG counterpart in no doubt that Australia is opposed to the death penalty at home and abroad,” Mr Webb said.

Post script: We are pleased to report that during his trip, Foreign Minister Bob Carr did voice Australia's opposition to capital punishment. "I said to foreign minister Pato, Australia is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and we never cease to make that clear," Mr Carr told the ABC.