Activists oppose the death penalty across Asia

World Day

on 30 October 2008

One or several events took place in at least seven Asian countries, including five of those specifically targeted by the World Coalition on the October 10 World Day. Activists were particularly visible in Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India and Pakistan. In India alone, events took place in 23 cities spread all over the country.
Various styles of action were used in those locations, from traditional events with strong agendas to innovative and original happenings.
In South Korea, for example, activists linked to several lawmakers burst into Parliament to support a bill proposing to abolish the death penalty (above).

A procession behind five “condemned” people

In India (left), a procession followed five “condemned” people to Parliament and handed in a letter to the prime minister, the president and the interior minister asking them to establish a moratorium on executions.
In Mongolia, a conference on “Human rights and the death penalty” gathered around 100 participants including lawyers, judges, prosecutors, law professors, NGOs, parliamentarians and representatives from the justice ministry.
Other actions reached out to the general public: in Hong Kong, origami workshops were set up to invite passers-by to make paper skulls and send them to the Japanese consulate.
In Taiwan (right), the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty organised a music and arts festival to inform the population through films, concerts and theatre plays.
In Japan, death row inmates were at the centre of attention: the public was invited to visit an exhibition of their poems, drawings and other works, and to watch a film depicting a prison warden asked to take care of a prisoner before executing him.

Good media coverage

Those examples illustrate the strength of the Asian abolitionist movement, which appeared in the media coverage of the events. At least 23 articles were published in English alone in Asian newspapers. All kinds of media outlets, including radio stations and websites, covered the World Day Against the Death Penalty in Asian languages.
Answering the call of the World Coalition, several abolitionist figures expressed the opposition to the death penalty publicly. In India, lawmaker Ravikumar wrote an article that was widely published in the press and on the internet.
In Pakistan, a statement by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan was also quoted extensively in the papers.

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