This joint NGO statement was presented to the reconvened UN Crime and Drug Commission session in Vienna in December 2015 on behalf of Amnesty International, Anti Death Penalty Asia Network, Harm Reduction International, International Drug Policy Consortium, Penal Reform International and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
The statement calls for States to use the opportunity presented by the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in April 2016 to strengthen the promotion and respect of human dignity, the rule of law and human rights, including with a specific call to promote the abolition of the death penalty. It notes in particular that:
- the ongoing and increasing use of the death penalty for drug-related crimes has run counter to the prevailing global trend towards abolishing the death penalty in general. (Only ten countries did so in 1979 compared to around 33 today.)
- states have used UN Drug Conventions to justify their use of the death penalty.
- international human rights mechanisms, and more recently international drug control bodies, such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, agree that drug-related offences do not constitute the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed. Therefore, its use violates international law.
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