GENEVA—The UN Commission for Human Rights approved a resolution backing an international moratorium on capital punishment last week.
The text, presented by the European Union, was passed by 30 votes to eleven, with twelve abstentions.
In addition to asking for the abolition of capital punishment, the resolution excluded the death penalty for persons who were 18 years old at the time of the crime, as well as pregnant women and the mentally ill.
Experts consider the document a starting point for the UN meeting in New York this autumn, when the UN General Assembly will vote on a resolution for the total abolition of the death penalty and a moratorium on existing sentences.
The UN's step coincides with John Paul H's appeal for a moratorium for the Great Jubilee, and his petitions for clemency made in the US and elsewhere.
The Italian Catholic community Sant'Egidio has collected over half a million signatures against the death penalty and hope to reach one million by the autumn.
Readers can sign the petition on the Internet at www.santegidio.org