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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Nigeria won't drop death penalty, legalize same-sex marriage

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru Federal Government has sealed the fate of homosexuals and those clamouring for the abolition of the death penalty in the Criminal Code.

It has rejected the recommendation by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the protection of same sex marriage and abolition of the death penalty.

This is contained in the draft report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on resolution 16/20 discussed at a Stakeholders' Consultative Forum on the second cycle of Nigeria's Universal Periodic Review in Abuja on Friday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, said same sex marriage was against the tradition and customs of Nigeria, so it could not be imposed on the country by external forces.

Addressing the representatives of Nigeria, Ashiru, who wondered why gay rights had generated interest from the United Nations, queried the negative campaign against polygamy, which, according to him, was allowed in African tradition.

He said, "You should not shy away from defending what you believe is right. Whatever is in our constitution, you must defend it. We must stand by our constitution. We must stand by our customs and tradition.

"If you want to have gay right in your constitution; fine, but we have our own constitution. The same human rights they want to protect for gay people; how about people that want to go into polygamy if they so desire and women are willing to marry them. Polygamy is human rights in our tradition."

On the abolition of death penalty, the minister said Nigeria should not be blamed because the Criminal Code in use was enacted by the colonial masters, saying, "If anything is wrong about it, why are they blaming us?"

Ashiru also denied allegations of extra-judicial killings by the military against the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where emergency rule had been proclaimed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Challenging those with credible evidence to come forward, Ashiru maintained that the record of Nigeria's military in peace keeping mission was unassailable.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said Nigeria had done creditably well in Human Rights.

Although he noted that the country had some obligations to the United Nations, he said no country could dictate to another because as a sovereign nation, Nigeria has the right to protect the interests of its citizens.

Source: Punch, June 29, 2013

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