FINAL DECLARATION OF THE ASIAN REGIONAL CONGRESS ON THE DEATH PENALTY Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – June 12, 2015

FINAL DECLARATION OF THE ASIAN REGIONAL CONGRESS ON THE DEATH PENALTY

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – June 12, 2015

WE, the over 300 participants in the First Asian Congress on the Death Penalty, taking place in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), on June 11th and 12th, 2015, co-organized by the Association Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), in partnership with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the Bar Council Malaysia;

ADOPT the following Declaration;

WE EMPHASIZE:

that every human being has the inherent right to life. This right must be protected by law;

WE ARE PLEASED:
– that over the last decades, five countries in the Asia region have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, Nepal, Bhutan, Philippines, Cambodia and Timor Leste;

– that Mongolia committed to the abolition of the death penalty by ratifying the 2nd Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations (ICCPR);

– that some countries are abolitionist in practice (Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, South-Korea, Thailand);

– that the relationships between civil society, National human rights institutions, bar councils, academics, jurists, journalists, and prominent figures for the abolition of the death penalty are being strengthened;

WE REGRET THAT:

– Asia remains the continent with the highest number of executions in the world.

– Since the beginning of 2015, some countries have resumed executions after the death penalty was suspended, such as Pakistan (over than 155 executions), Singapore and Indonesia (14 executions), while others plan to reintroduce the death penalty such as Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea;

– The death penalty is still applied for non-most serious crimes with reference to ICCPR definition and international standards;

WE CALL ON:

Asian Retentionist states:

– To work toward the abolition of the death penalty to comply with the resolutions for a moratorium on executions, pending the abolition of the death penalty, passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations since 2007;

– To publish transparent, regular and reliable information on their implementation of the death penalty;

– To reform the justice criminal systems to ensure fair trials and stop the use of mandatory death penalty: “the automatic and mandatory imposition of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, in violation of Article 6, paragraph 1 of the ICCPR”, and is fundamentally incompatible with the right to fair trial and due process guaranteed in Article 14;

– To reduce by law the list of crimes punishable by death, including those related to the drug trafficking and the fight against terrorism in accordance with the “most serious crimes” provision of the ICCPR;

Intergovernmental regional organizations and international organizations:

– To continue and intensify their cooperation with States toward abolition;

– To collaborate with Asian and international civil society to promote the universal abolition of the death penalty;

Asian Abolitionist states:

– To commit, beyond words, in concrete and stronger actions in favour of the universal abolition of the death penalty, especially in their diplomatic relations with the retentionist states and with the inter-governmental regional organisations;

– To take the lead of the abolitionist movement among regional human rights bodies;

– To sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and to call on other Asian states to do the same;

– To provide assistance and support to national citizens on death row abroad;

People’s representatives (Parliamentarians, Congressmen, Deputies):

– To gather in national, regional and international networks and bring the debate to abolish into the heart of retentionists Parliaments;

National Human Rights Institutions:

– To work jointly at a national and regional level to bring the issue of the abolition of the death penalty among their priorities and recommendations;

Bar Councils:

– To mobilize, raise awareness and train lawyers and jurists everywhere in Asia on the fight against the death penalty, including on defences in capital cases, for due process and fair trials

Judges in retentionist countries:

– To use their discretionary power to individualize sentences, to not sentence to death or to encourage juries to decide not to condemn to death;

Abolitionist civil society and academic actors:

– To NGOs, lawyers, academics and human rights defenders in Asia-Pacific to join the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) to promote human rights and the abolition of the death penalty;

– To act jointly with, and eventually join, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty and strengthen interactions;

– To undertake educational activities in favour of abolition with the public, including policy makers, students; and to celebrate every year the annual World Day against the Death Penalty on October 10th and the Cities for Life on November 30th;

– To actively continue in our work towards abolition of the death penalty including supporting and attending the upcoming World Congress against the death penalty in Oslo in June 2016.

Kuala Lumpur

June 12, 2015

World Day Against the Death Penalty – 10 Oct. 2014 – Press Statement

In conjunction with the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty (WDADP), the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) strongly presses for and renews its call to Asian governments to abolish capital punishment.
ADPAN is a network of organisations and individuals from about 28 Asia-Pacific countries working for the abolition of the death penalty across the Asia-Pacific region.
Capital punishment is a grave violation of the right to life as enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). ADPAN strongly advocates and supports the rehabilitation – not execution – of death row prisoners.
The statistics are chilling: More people are executed in the Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world combined. However, the number of executions is declining worldwide; and 140 countries out of 198 worldwide (36 out of 62 in Asia-Pacific) have abolished1 the death penalty in law or in practice.
According to data available across the globe, the death penalty is an ineffective means of reducing crime, and has no unique deterrent effect. In March 2012, the Malaysian Bar Council stated that empirical evidence from surveys has shown that despite the introduction of mandatory death sentences for drug trafficking, the number of cases continues to increase2.
Failures or miscarriages of justice, where innocent persons are executed, or made to languish on death row, are gross violations of human rights. The following three cases in recent years highlight that miscarriages of justice have taken place in the Asia.
In March this year in Japan, a retrial3 has been ordered for Iwao Hakamada, 78, the world’s longest-serving death row inmate. He was convicted of a 1966 quadruple murder, but after almost 48 years, the Shizuoka District Court suspended his death sentence and released Hakamada after DNA testing indicated key evidence against him may have been fabricated.
In 2011, the government of Taiwan publicly apologized to the family of former air force private Chiang Kuo-ching for his wrongful execution4 in 1997.
In China, Nie Shubin was executed5 in 1995 for the rape and murder of a woman. In 2005, another person called Wang Shujin admitted to the police that he had committed the murder.[
In another positive development in November 2013 in Singapore, Yong Viu Kong’s death penalty6 was officially lifted. He become the first drug trafficker on death row to have his sentence reduced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane, under amendments made to the Misuse of Drugs Act.
ADPAN is gravely concerned that executions7 have taken place this year in the following Asian countries: China, Iran, Iraq, Japan, North Korea, Palestine, Singapore, Saudi Arabia Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Despite appeals by anti-death penalty groups in at least three of these countries (Japan, Singapore and Taiwan), these Asian governments have carried out this irreversible and irreparable penalty in contravention of the policy and principle of the UDHR.
ADPAN notes that out of 41 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 13 still retain the death penalty. ADPAN urgently appeals to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam to immediately abolish the death penalty, and in the interim, enforce a moratorium on all executions. This is in line with UNGA Fourth Resolution8 passed on 20 December 2012.

Ngeow Chow Ying
on behalf of the
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network
10 Oct. 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
https://www.facebook.com/ADPANetwork
Contact: contactadpan@gmail.com

Sources
1. https://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/abolitionist-and-retentionist-countries
2. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/death-penalty-to-stay-says-nazri/
3. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/27/world/asia/japan-death-row-inmate-freed/index.html
4. http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2011/02/01/289853/p1/Ma-apologizes.htm
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_China
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yong_Vui_Kong
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_country
8. http://www.worldcoalition.org/United-Nations-UN-General-Assembly-Committee-vote-moratorium-resolution.html

Thailand: Action, not words, needed to abolish the death penalty

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
and its member organization in Thailand
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)

Joint press release

Thailand: Action, not words, needed to abolish the death penalty

 

Paris, Bangkok, 9 October 2014: Thailand must go beyond words and take rapid and tangible steps to abolish the death penalty, FIDH and its member organization UCL said one day before the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October 2014).

On 22 July 2014, in a letter to the UN General Assembly’s President which contained Thailand’s candidature for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council for the 2015-2017 term, Thailand pledged to “study the possibility” of abolishing capital punishment. Thailand’s third National Human Rights Plan also mentioned the possibility of abolishing the death penalty.

Thailand must quickly turn its tepid commitment to consider the abolition of the death penalty into concrete action. This includes the ratification of relevant international instruments and the adoption of necessary domestic laws that will finally make state-sanctioned killing an aberration of the past,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

Recent political and social developments in the country have created conditions that risk undermining efforts to abolish capital punishment. The National Human Rights Plan was expected to be submitted to the Cabinet earlier this year. However, its status remains unclear following the22 May military coup.

In addition, instead of proposing the reduction of the number of offenses that are punishable by death, decision-makers, politicians, and activists have recently supported the introduction of new capital crimes.

On 19 September, it was reported that Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), proposed a bill that prescribed the death penalty for those found guilty of causing the closure of an airport or damaging airport facilities or aircraft at an airport. The proposed legislation has already passed its first reading in the junta-backed National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

On 14 July, it was reported that former Home Affairs Deputy Minister and Phum Jai Thai Party MP Boonchong Wongtrasirat proposed the amendment of existing laws in order to make the buying and selling of votes and offence that is punishable by death.

Following the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl on a Bangkok-train on 6 July, activists and key public figures launched a campaign that called for the death penalty for convicted rapists.

Emotional responses to political developments or horrendous crimes are major setbacks on the path to the abolition of the death penalty in Thailand,” said UCL Senior Advisor Danthong Breen. “Decision-makers must reject capital punishment as a solution. Vengeance achieves nothing, fails as a deterrent, and exacerbates the culture of violence.”

FIDH and UCL urge Thailand to announce an official moratorium on capital punishment, to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and to vote in favor of a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in December.

As of 31 August, there were 623 prisoners (572 men and 51 women) under death sentence in Thailand. Forty percent of the men and 82% percent of the women were sentenced to death for drug-related offenses.

Thailand has not executed anyone since 24 August 2009, when two men, Bundit Jaroenwanit, 45, and Jirawat Poompreuk, 52, were put to death by lethal injection with just one-hour notice at Bang Khwang Prison, located just north of Bangkok. The two had been convicted of drug trafficking on 29 March 2001.

FIDH is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

–END–


Press contacts:
Arthur Manet (French, English and Spanish)  – Phone: +33 6 72 28 42 94 (Paris) – email:presse@fidh.org
Audrey Couprie (French, English and Spanish) – Phone: +33 6 48 05 91 57 (Paris) – email:presse@fidh.org

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French acronym FIDH, is an international human rights NGO representing 178 organizations from close to 120 countries. Since 1922, FIDH has been defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.

ADPAN August/September 2014 Newsletter: AVAILABLE NOW

#ADPAN NEWS

ADPAN Newsletter covering July 2014 has been out. Please click this link to read more August Sept Newsletter 2014

Please feel free to circulate. We would appreciate your feedback on this latest newsletter.

Thank You,

Nalini Elumalai
ADPAN Coordinator
contactadpan@gmail.com

Japan: Impose A Permanent Moratorium On All Executions And Take Urgent Steps Towards Its Abolition Of The Death Penalty

MEDIA STATEMENT – 31 AUGUST 2014

 

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) condemns the execution of two Japanese death row prisoners, Mitsuhiro Kobayashi, age 56, and Tsutomu Takamizawa, age 59, who were executed on 29th August 2014 at Sendai Detention Center and Tokyo Detention Center respectively. This is the second and third execution in this year that took place within two months since last June when Masanori Kawasaki, aged 68 was executed on 26 June at Osaka Detention Center.

This recent execution of Mitsuhiro Kobayashi, Tsutomu Takamizawa and Masanori Kawasaki is really disappointing more so since the recent release of Iwao Hakamada on 27 March 2014, who had spent 45 years on death row. In Hakamada’s case, the court in releasing him expressed concern that investigators could have falsified the evidence against him.

Since Prime Minister Abe’s government took office in December 2012 eleven people have now been executed, whilst a total of 127 inmates remain on death row.

ADPAN, together with its member in Japan, Center for Prisoners’ Rights,  condemns these ‘secret executions’. The death penalty is a gross human rights violation, a state-sanctioned murder, unique in its cruelty and finality. Needless to say, death penalty is irreversible and cannot be remedied.

ADPAN, a network of Asia Pacific organizations and individuals working for the abolition of the death penalty, calls upon the Japanese government, also being a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to comply with United Nations General Assembly Resolutions adopted in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, and to immediately impose a moratorium on all executions and take steps towards the abolition of the death penalty.

 

 

Charles Hector

For an on behalf of ADPAN

 

For further information, please contact Ms Nalini at contactadpan@gmail.com  or  +60193758912.

*ADPAN PDF Version: Final Press Statement Japan Execution 29082014

*ADPAN member CPR issued a statement condemning the execution: http://www.cpr.jca.apc.org/sites/all/themes/cpr_dummy/Doc/CPR%20Statement%20on%20Execution%20August%2029%202014.pdf

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