Public Support for the Death Penalty

Indicator Description

  • A. Definition

    Support for the maintenance and abolition of the death penalty by Korean citizens

  • B. How to measure

    Those who responded “strongly agree” and “somewhat agree” to the question “The death penalty should be maintained for crime suppression and social justice” were recategorized as “should be retained.”, and the respondses of “strongly agree” and “somewhat agree” to the question “The death penalty should be abolished to protect human dignity and life” were categorised as “sholud be abolished”

  • C. Features and Sources

    Category Sub-Category Sub-Subcategory Type of Indicator Reference Data Sources First year data available Periodicity
    Right to Freedom Physical Integrity Rights Restriction of the death penalty Subjective/Result National Human Rights Commission of Korea Public Opinion on Human Rights 2005 5 years
  • D. Interpretation

    The death penalty is the strongest punishment that can be imposed on an individual, but globally, it shows a tendency to limit and not actually foster a sense of an individual’s physical rights. There is a wide variety of opinions on this issue. The position that argues for keeping the death penalty is based on the fact that it asserts the right of individuals to be safe and can deter heinous crimes through the fear of death. On the other hand, there is also the position that we should limit the death penalty because the state is not infallible and therefore should not deprive people of their lives. Korea is categorized as a de facto abolitionist country, as a death penalty sentence has not been carried out since 1997. In this situation, there is a conflict between those who wish to preserve the death penalty and those who wish to abolish it. Indicators show that the death penalty should remain as law. However, a comparison between 2011 and 2016 suggests that there has been a decrease in support for the death penalty. The younger the respondents are, the more likely they are to desire for the death penalty to be abolished; this could be due to the influence of changes in education on the perception of human rights. Opinions on the death penalty are still divide; the death penalty is still not implemented and the human rights awareness is increasing, however there is also some people that aruge for keeping the death penalty system. Hence, for the future, the state needs to confront the reality of the death penalty and reflect the will of the people.

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