The United Nations top human rights body has again urged states to eliminate the death penalty, a call rejected by the United States and China. The U.N. Human Rights Commission, in a resolution Wednesday, also asked for a global moratorium on capital punishment pending a full ban.
The commission has approved the same European-drafted resolution for the last several years, and today it passed in a vote of 29-19. Five members of the 52-nation body abstained.
A member of the U.S. delegation said a country should decide for itself through a democratic process whether to permit executions in accordance with international law.
Besides the United States and China, other nations that rejected the measure include India, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Amnesty International says 1,146 prisoners were executed last year, with China carrying out most - at least 726. However, the rights group said it believes the number of executions in China was much higher.
Amnesty International says Iran, the United States and Vietnam had the next highest numbers of executions, with Iran carrying out at least 108, the United States 65 and Vietnam 64.
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