Vienna, 27 March 2014 Press release

Foreign Minister Kurz deplores renewed increase in the number of executions in 2013

Vienna, 27 March 2014 – "The number of executions has again increased. This is a clear warning that we need to intensify our efforts in the global fight for the abolition of capital punishment. The death penalty never serves justice and is to be opposed under all circumstances", Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz said in his first response to the Amnesty International annual report on death sentences and executions for 2013 that was published today. The report comes to the horrifying conclusion that the number of executions world-wide has increased again.

"What is particularly alarming is the significant increase in executions in Iraq and Iran, as well as the fact that as many as four countries – Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vietnam – have returned to enforcing the death penalty in 2013", Foreign Minister Kurz said.

In most parts of the world the trend towards abolishing capital punishment continues; the majority of executions were carried out in only six states (China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Somalia). "We will now pool our forces and focus on convincing the countries that still apply capital punishment to finally abolish it, or at least introduce a moratorium for the enforcement of death sentences as a first step. With this in mind, Austria will again pro-actively contribute to the preparation of an initiative for the global condemnation and banning of capital punishment to be launched in the UN General Assembly this coming autumn", Kurz said. 

Amnesty International recorded executions in 22 states in 2013, compared to 21 states in the year 2012. At least 778 executions are known to have been carried out in 2013, which represents a 15% increase compared to the 682 executions recorded in the previous year. The number of 778 does not, however, include the several thousand executions estimated to have been carried out in China. Since 2009, Amnesty International has not published data on executions in China, because these data are considered state secrets in that country. A minimum of 1925 people (2012: 1722) were sentenced to death in 57 countries in 2013.

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