Press Release

IACHR Welcomes the Abolition of the Death Penalty in the State of Nebraska, United States

June 5, 2015

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska, United States.

On May 27, 2015, lawmakers across party lines overrode Governor Pete Ricketts’ veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law.  “Today we are doing something that transcends me, that transcends this Legislature, that transcends this state, […] we are talking about human dignity,” said Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, who sponsored the bill.

The Inter-American Commission has dealt with the death penalty as a crucial human rights challenge for decades. While a majority of the member States of the Organization of American States has abolished capital punishment, a substantial minority retains it. The United States is currently the only country in the Western hemisphere to carry out executions.

In its report “The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System: From Restrictions to Abolition” published in 2012, the Inter-American Commission called for the gradual disappearance of the death penalty. The IACHR celebrates that the State of Nebraska has now joined 18 other States and the District of Columbia in abolishing capital punishment, contributing to the progress towards its gradual disappearance in the United States. The IACHR hopes that other States will follow its example and that one day the Western hemisphere will become a de facto death penalty-free zone.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 061/15