Almost every country in the world has had capital punishment within its laws at some point. In recent times, however, most countries have seen it fit to do away with laws that permit the taking of a life. Despite all this, there are some nations that have not abolished this law. A good example, which is also the most developed nation among the countries that still have the death penalty, is the United States. Aside from the US, there are 83 other countries around the world that still have capital punishment.
Countries with Capital Punishment
Going by the data on the table, it is clear that the practice is still very much in effect with nine countries having executions in 2018. Aside from the US, there is Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Angola, and Afghanistan. The highest percentage of executions in 2018 is from Arab nations, followed by Africa, and lastly by the US.
On the other end, Swaziland has not had any executions since they last had one in 1983. Other nations that also had theirs around the same time are Belize in 1985, Dominica in 1986, and Kenya a year later in 1987. In that same category, there is a special category of states that have had no executions since they got independence. These four states are Eritrea, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, and the Maldives.
Going by continent, it is clearly evident that Asia has the most countries that still have capital punishment both in practice and in law. With 34 countries that have not yet officially abolished the death penalty, only Africa comes close to Asia with a total of 33 countries that have not abolished the punishment. By contrast, Oceania and Europe, with two countries each, have the least number of countries that have not done away with capital punishment.
In 2017 alone, there were a total of 23 countries that performed documented executions. Of these 23 states, Africa had three, the Americas and Europe each had one, while the highest number, 18, was from the Asia-Pacific. Unsurprisingly, the highest number came from China (Asia) with an estimated total of over 1,500 executions. In Africa, Egypt had the highest number of executions with over 35. The United States and Belarus are the only countries from the Americas and Europe respectively.
In some cases, there have been some kinds of executions that have stood out. For example, exercising capital punishment towards minors (people under the age of 18 or 21 at the time of committing a crime). The definition of a minor changes in different countries. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the only two countries that have done so since 2009. Public executions were carried out by four countries in 2013 namely North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Iran. Extrajudicial killings have also been happening in some countries.
Abolishing Capital Punishment
Some nations have abolished, reinstated, and then abolished capital punishments again such as the Philippines. Also, most of the countries that have abolished it are members of the UN in some way. Of the 195 members, only 54 retain the punishment.