Why a Human Rights Framework for Death Penalty Abolition Work?

The death penalty is typically viewed as a criminal justice issue. A death sentence is thought of as a criminal sanction that the state has a right to impose, just like any other punishment for a crime.

Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) asserts that the death penalty is a human rights issue. Executions violate Articles 3 and 5 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights: the right to life, and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. Members of MVFHR work to uphold these Articles by working to end the death penalty.

Human rights transcend government policies. If a particular act violates human rights, then it should be prohibited no matter what form of government or criminal justice system a nation has. In any nation, the death penalty is a clear human rights violation, and should be abolished.

Based in the U.S., MVFHR joins in solidarity with people in other countries who are working to abolish the death penalty, and with victims’ families around the world who are working for justice and healing in the aftermath of violence.

Read about the UN Commission on Human Rights debating the death penalty.

Read “Human Rights and Victim Justice,” by Renny Cushing and Susannah Sheffer, in Peacework magazine.

Read our report Creating More Victims, which asserts that families of the executed ought to be recognized as victims under the Universal Declaration of Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.

See video testimony from MVFHR members at the U.S. Human Rights Network conference.

Read “Abolition of the Death Penalty is Necessary for Protecting Human Rights” (statement of Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe).