Michelle Bachelet noted the lack of evidence that the death penalty is more effective in deterring the commission of crimes.
During last year’s campaign, the Democrat Biden promised voters that he would seek to abolish the federal death penalty. He became the first president of the country to advocate for abolishing this type of punishment openly.
“I welcome the promise of the new US administration to work towards the abolition of the death penalty at both the federal and state levels,” Bachelet said.
Donald Trump last year resumed the death penalty at the federal level after a 17-year hiatus, partly due to difficulties in obtaining drugs for lethal injections.
Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for attorney general, told Congress on Monday that his position on the death penalty has changed amid concerns that black Americans and members of other minorities, many of whom have been wrongfully convicted, are disproportionately subject to this type of punishment.
“Deterrence is often the argument of those who oppose the abolition of the death penalty. However, there is no evidence that it deters crimes more effectively than any other punishment,”Bachelet said during a debate at the UN Human Rights Council.
“On the contrary, studies show that in some countries that have abolished the death penalty, the number of murders has not changed or even decreased,” she added.
The US delegation, which has observer status in the Human Rights Council, did not participate in the debate held every two years.
According to Bachelet, the “vast majority” of countries have abolished the death penalty at the legislative level or do not carry out the death penalty. Iran and Saudi Arabia have defended the practice in the debate, saying it is only used for the most serious crimes under Sharia law. According to the statistics of the human rights organization Amnesty International, they are among the five countries where executions are carried out most often.