A total of 133 UN member states, from all regions in the world, have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006, 91percent of them in just six countries: China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the USA. Recorded executions worldwide fell by more than 25 percent in 2006, with a drop from at least 2,148 in 2005 to at least 1,591 in 25 countries in 2006. At least 3,861 people were sentenced to death in 55 countries in 2006. Europe is a death penalty-free zone, with the exception of Belarus. The US itself is slowly turning against the death penalty. The 53 executions carried out in 2006 represented the lowest annual total for a decade, and death sentences continue to drop from its peak in the mid-1990s.In Asia, the Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006. There has been some progress on reducing the death penalty in China. On 1 January 2007 the Supreme People's Court formally resumed its role of reviewing the sentences passed in China. It is expected that this review, according to Chinese legal scholars, would probably result in a 20 - 30 percent reduction in the total number of executions in China.
To sign the petition calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty click here.