The death penalty was abolished. In April Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill abolishing the death penalty. The proposal to abolish the death penalty had been made by the President, Sir Dawda Jawara, who had previously publicly stated his personal opposition to the punishment. At the UN World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in June he stated that "the death penalty is increasingly difficult to reconcile with evolving human rights standards it has no value, no useful purpose in relation to crime prevention and control". The government also announced that the Gambia would accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Since independence in 1965, 87 people had been sentenced to death, but only one execution had been carried out. It was not clear whether anyone was under sentence of death when the death penalty was abolished. In August Amnesty International published a brief report, The Gambia: President abolishes the death penalty. Amnesty International welcomed the decision to abolish the death penalty as a clear indication of the country's commitment to human rights.
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