NOTE: Keep those calls to TEXAS coming in! (See the posts just below)
The following are courtesy of Rick Halperin's News and Updates. Thanx, Rick!
NOVEMBER 19, 2009:
Gov't ensuring death penalty gone forever
The federal government wants to ensure the death penalty can't be brought back anywhere in Australia.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland told parliament on Thursday the death penalty has been formally abolished in all Australian jurisdictions and there were no proposals for its reinstatement.
However, legislation he was introducing would ensure it could not be reintroduced.
The draft laws emphasised Australia's commitment to its obligations under the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ensured that Australia continued to comply with those obligations, Mr McClelland said.
"Such a comprehensive rejection of capital punishment will also demonstrate Australia's commitment to the worldwide abolitionist movement, and complement Australia's international lobbying efforts against the death penalty."
Mr McClelland's amendments also change the legal basis for the outlawing of torture.
It replaces the existing offence of torture in a 1988 act with a new offence in the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
Torture, as defined by a United Nations convention to which Australia was a signatory, was severe pain or suffering intentionally inflicted on a person by a public official for a specified purpose such as obtaining information or a confession, Mr McClelland said.
"The new offence is intended to fulfil more clearly Australia's obligations under the Convention Against Torture," he said.
It would not affect state and territory laws against torture.
Debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Bill 2009 was adjourned.
Planet Unites in Opposing Death Penalty
On Nov. 30, more than 1,000 cities around the globe will floodlight a monument symbolizing opposition to the death penalty, joining with the Community of Sant'Egidio in their "No Justice Without Life" initiative.
The community recognizes a change in world opinion on the death penalty, highlighted by two U.N. resolutions calling for a universal moratorium on the practice.
A statement from the group called capital punishment a "residue from the past," and said that like slavery and torture, it should eventually be rejected.
Yet, "the path to the abolition of capital punishment continues to be long and difficult and it needs decisive and long-term action in view of the implementation of the resolution and of the definitive abolition of capital punishment," the communiqué affirmed.
The World Day of Cities for Life is observed every Nov. 30 in memory of the first abolition of the death penalty by a state (the Grand Duchy of Tuscany), which took place in 1786.
The 2008 celebration saw the participation of 1,000 cities, more than 50 of which were capitals. It thus represented the most widespread international mobilization ever in the movement to halt all capital executions in the world.
Cities are invited to make a visible gesture to its citizens and to the world. The gesture, preferably the illumination of an important monument of the city, is accompanied with adherence to the universal moratorium and a concrete commitment to build awareness about the issue in civil society. The city of Rome, for example, illuminates the Colosseum, Brussels the Atomium, Barcelona the Cathedral Square.