The human rights organization says the death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. A report by Amnesty International released today said that 106 people were sentenced to death in Sri Lanka last year but yet Sri Lanka continued to be among the execution-free countries..Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. Official information received by Amnesty International indicated that one-hundred and six new death sentences were imposed in Sri Lanka in 2011 and 362 people were on death row at the end of the year. In late December 2011 the National Human Rights Commission announced that it intended to propose that the government abolish the death penalty. However, the Secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation A. Dissanayake was reported as saying that the prison authorities had already requested the approval of the Management Service Department of the Treasury to recruit a hangman and that they had received a number of applications for the post.According to Dissanayake, in late December there were nearly 750 inmates on death row, Amnesty International said. The US was once again the only executioner in the Americas. A total of 43 executions were recorded in 13 of the 34 states that retain the death penalty, a drop by a third since 2001, and 78 new death sentences were recorded in 2011, a decrease by half since 2001. (Colombo Gazette)
The consultations, announced today by UN spokesman Fred Eckhard, will take place a week after Council members received a report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the latest situation in Darfur and were also briefed on the issue by Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk.Yesterday Mr. Annan told reporters that “more can and should be done” to improve security in Darfur, where at least 1.2 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 live as refugees in neighbouring Chad, largely because of attacks by armed militias allied to Khartoum.In his report he proposed expanding the size of the force of African Union (AU) monitors in Darfur, an impoverished region the size of France that has been beset by conflict since two rebel groups took up arms against Khartoum early last year.In Nigeria, AU mediators are meeting separately with representatives of the Sudanese Government and two rebel groups – the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) – to discuss a draft protocol on security. If the parties can accept the draft, then the mediators plan to meet with them together to sign off on the protocol. The talks in Abuja, which are being attended by UN officials, cover four issues: humanitarian, security, political, and social and economic matters.In other humanitarian developments:The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a measles vaccination campaign for 150,000 children not reached by a previous scheme in June.Preliminary figures released by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) show that Darfur accounts for 40 per cent of all Sudanese cases of fistula – a devastating condition resulting when obstructed labour causes tears in the area between the vagina and rectum of a pregnant mother.