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US rejects UN call to abolish death penalty

GENEVA (AP) - The United States has dismissed international calls to abolish the death penalty.

U.S. State Department legal adviser Harold Koh told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday that capital punishment is permitted under international law.

Dozens of countries have urged the U.S. to halt or abolish the death penalty during the first comprehensive review of Washington's human rights record before the 47-nation body.

Koh also described some recommendations by countries like Iran and Cuba as "political provocations."

But he said the U.S. was committed to rooting out injustices such as racial profiling and would seriously consider signing a U.N. declaration on the rights of indigenous people.

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