The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Tuesday calling for a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing capital punishment.
The vote in the 192-member world body was 104-54 with 29 abstentions.
The resolution is not legally binding, but it carries moral weight and reflects the majority view of world opinion.
The vote capped a heated debate in the General Assembly's human rights committee that continued before and after the final vote. It saw the United States taking the unusual step of siding with countries such as Iran and Syria in opposition to the resolution.
The resolution calls on those countries that still allow capital punishment to respect international standards that safeguard the rights of condemned inmates and to "establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty."
It also calls upon those who have abolished the punishment not to reintroduce it.
The resolution was co-sponsored by European Union states and 60 other countries.