United Nations, Nov 22 : As India executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon nations to abolish the death penalty.
Ban welcomes a record vote by a General Assembly committee in favour of the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, his spokesperson said Wednesday.
India, US and China were among 39 nations voting against the resolution in the Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social and humanitarian issues, as well as human rights, Monday. The non binding draft resolution got110 votes in favour, with 36 abstentions.
"Monday's vote offers the opportunity to again encourage Member States who still practice the death penalty or retain it in law to follow suit," the spokesperson added in a news statement, noting that 150 States have either abolished or do not practice the death penalty.
"The Secretary-General therefore calls on Member States to join the worldwide trend and support next month's General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty," he said.
The new resolution, inter alia, calls on all States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
Ban's spokesperson said the Committee's resolution reflects a trend against capital punishment which has grown stronger across regions, legal traditions and customs since a landmark General Assembly resolution on the topic in 2007.
"The Secretary-General saluted this development at a high-level event on the death penalty in New York this July," the spokesperson added.
"He said then that the taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by legal process."
As India executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the United States welcomed it as a "step toward justice" in the incident that claimed 166 lives.
"We've said before that we welcome steps toward justice in the Mumbai attacks," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday when asked to comment on the execution of Kasab.
"We've said many times before that we want to see the terrorists behind these attacks brought to justice. My understanding is that he received due process in a full and transparent trial and the sentence was carried out."
Asked if India had informed the US before Kasab's execution, he said: "I'm not aware that we would have been informed prior to this execution."