End the death penalty for drug-related offences


on 26 June 2009

In the lead up to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking ,the Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), of which Amnesty International is a member, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) have called upon governments in Asia to cease applying the death penalty for drug-related offences.
In a joint statement, those organisations point the finger: “Sixteen countries in Asia apply the death penalty for drug-related offences. As many countries in the region do not make information on the death penalty available, it is impossible to calculate exactly how many drug-related death sentences are imposed. However, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, reports indicate that a high proportion of death sentences are imposed upon those convicted of drug offences. ADPAN, HRW, and IHRA express particular concern that China, Indonesia, and Vietnam continue to execute individuals for drug offences.”

Death penalty “hindering public health programmes”

The NGOs note that while the use of capital punishment cannot be related to any progress in the struggle against drugs, “draconian penalties for drug offences, including the death penalty, hinder public health programmes that reduce the harm drugs may cause to individual drug users, their loved ones, communities and states.”
They call on those governments to impose a moratorium on executions, remove drug-related offences from the list of capital crimes and publicise statistics on the death penalty.

Photo: public notice in Laos, by Permanently Scatterbrained

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