The declaration, part of the Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty campaign, was first launched in March at the virtual South by Southwest festival by Sir Richard Branson, one of the campaign's founders. Initial signatories included the billionaire fashion mogul Francois-Henri Pinault, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's, Arianna Huffington, and the leaders of Unilever and Bayer.
Ahead of World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October, the campaign announced on Thursday that over 100 additional signatories have signed the declaration. Among the new signatories are Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, and Sally Jewell, former US secretary of the interior and former chief executive of recreational goods company REI.
"As an irreversible and extreme form of punishment, the death penalty is inhumane, and it is irreconcilable with human dignity. Its worldwide abolition is a moral imperative that all of humanity should support," reads the declaration.
More than 170 UN member states have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In the US, 23 states have outlawed the death penalty and four have moratoriums on executions. Over a dozen have not used the death penalty in years.
While executions have become rare in the United States, a handful still happen every year. Seventeen people were executed in 2020, including 10 people who were executed on federal charges. This year has seen seven executions to date, including the execution of Ernest Johnson in Missouri on 5 October despite pleas for clemency, including from Pope Francis...