Papua New Guinea becomes first country to abolish death penalty in 2022

Papua New Guinea has abolished the death penalty, becoming the first state to take this step in 2022. This was publicly announced on Thursday by Prime Minister James Marape.

The death penalty had already been abolished in the country in 1970, but was reintroduced in 1991. The last execution took place in 1954 in the capital Port Moresby.

The head of government said the death penalty “does not deter the most serious crimes.”

Justice Minister Bryan Kramer introduced the bill to abolish the most severe of criminal penalties in parliament, pointing out that it lacked the “necessary mechanisms and administrative infrastructure” to apply it to the country’s 40 inmates sentenced to death.

The European Union welcomed the Papua New Guinea parliament’s decision to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment.

“A decision that represents a further step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty,” said an EU commentary, in which it “strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, as it is a cruel and degrading punishment that does not act as a deterrent to criminal behavior and constitutes an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

Finally, the statement says the EU will continue to work toward the abolition of the death penalty in the few countries that still use it. In Europe, the only state where it is still in force is Belarus.