The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, is an international treaty that seeks to eliminate the use of capital punishment worldwide. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 15, 1989, and came into force on July 11, 1991.
The protocol builds upon Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which recognizes the inherent right to life and imposes certain restrictions on the use of the death penalty. The Second Optional Protocol goes a step further by calling for the complete abolition of capital punishment.
States that become parties to the protocol agree to:
- Abolish the death penalty within their jurisdictions.
- Refrain from reintroducing the death penalty if it has been abolished.
- Take all necessary measures to prevent the reinstatement of capital punishment.
The protocol is open for signature and ratification by all states that are party to the ICCPR. By joining the protocol, countries commit themselves to working towards the abolition of the death penalty and taking steps to eradicate it from their legal systems.
It is important to note that not all countries have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, 89 countries had become party to the protocol. However, it is always worth checking for the most up-to-date information, as countries may have joined or withdrawn since then.
The protocol reflects the global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty. Many countries have abolished capital punishment in recent decades, recognizing the right to life as a fundamental human right. However, there are still countries that retain the death penalty, and the protocol serves as an international instrument to encourage further progress towards its worldwide abolition.
Please note that the information provided here is based on my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, and there may have been updates or changes since then.