ADPAN Takes the Occasion of UN Anti-Drugs Day to Denounce Death Penalty
3 July 2007 7:00 pm

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), of which FORUM-ASIA is a part, released a statement denouncing the use of the death penalty by Asian governments, particularly in the case drug offenses. Rather, the death penalty must be abolished and never used to punish drug crimes.

On 26 June, the UN Anti-Drugs Day, the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), of which FORUM-ASIA is a part, took this day to raise awareness about the rampant use of the death penalty by governments in Asia.

While the use of the death penalty is decreasing worldwide, Asia remains a strong proponent of this inhumane practice. Drug offenses are crimes often punished by death in Asia. In Brunei, India, Laos, North Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia the death penalty is mandatory for drug offenses; in sixteen other Asian countries, the death penalty can be used for crimes related to drugs.

The situation in Southeast Asia is particularly worrisome. Out of the 100 people on death row in Indonesia, 57 are charged with drug related crimes. Death sentences for drugs have already been given to 10 people in 2007. The Malaysian government, in 2005, released statistics that said that out of the 52 people sentenced to death in the previous year, 36 were for drug offenses. Drug crimes resulting in death sentences constitute the majority of people executed in Singapore since 19911.

Eight of the sixteen countries that apply the death penalty for drug offenses have ratified the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights; China and Laos have signed but not ratified2. Mandatory death sentences are a violation of the right to life as specified in this document.

At a minimum, ADPAN is working toward establishing a total moratorium on executions with an aim of abolishing the death penalty as well as stopping the death sentence for all drug related crimes.

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1 Amnesty e-news
2 Ibid.