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Rome Reports

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State-sanctioned executions declined in 2017

According to Amnesty International, someone is executed under a state-sanctioned death penalty every nine hours. However, the organization's annual report shows that number may be declining. 

In 2017, 993 executions were recorded in 23 countries, a 39-percent decrease from a record-breaking 2015. The number of countries who have abolished the death penalty rose to 142. 

While some nations, such as China and Vietnam, have refused to release data, 84 percent of all recorded executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

As a strong advocate of human dignity, Pope Francis has spoken out against the death penalty. Last year, the Holy Father called for an update to the Catechism, saying capital punishment “is contrary to the Gospel.”

October 11, 2017 

“However serious the crime committed may have been, the death penalty is inadmissible because it undermines the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

With more than 21,000 people worldwide awaiting their executions, much work remains regarding the protection of life.