Sri Lanka last week abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly in favour of abolishing the death penalty.
The draft resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 41 against, with 34 abstentions.
According to Amnesty International Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Namibia went from a vote in favour to an abstention. Sri Lanka also abstained from voting for the draft resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The document was adopted by a recorded vote of 117 in favour to none against, with 67 abstentions. The UN General Assembly, during its session last week adopted 56 resolutions and 9 decisions.
Meanwhile Amnesty International welcomed an increase in global support for abolition of the death penalty.
“Although the UNGA vote is not legally binding, it does express the will of the international community and is a strong signal from the world body. The death penalty is the ultimate form of cruel and inhuman punishment – we oppose its use in all circumstances,” Amnesty International’s UN representative in New York José Luis Díaz said in a statement.
Amnesty International said that in the vote, the fourth such vote by the plenary session of the UNGA since 2007, there was an increase of two in support from the last vote in 2010.
New voters in favour of the moratorium included the Central African Republic, Chad, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tunisia.
As a further positive sign, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia moved from opposition to abstention. Amnesty expressed regret that Bahrain, Dominica and Oman changed their abstention to a vote against the resolution.