BANGKOK (22 July 2014) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) today expressed deep concerns over the resumption of executions in Singapore after 3 years of suspension, despite the overwhelming global trend towards abolishing the death penalty. Last Friday, the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore announced the execution of two individuals convicted for drug offences. Reportedly, 23 detainees remain on death row in Singapore, many of them being convicted for drug-related offences.
The death penalty is an extreme form of punishment and, if used at all, should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, after a fair trial that respects the most stringent due process guarantees as stipulated in international human rights law. In accordance with international human rights jurisprudence, drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be applied. In March 2014, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board urged States that still impose the death penalty for drug-related offences to abolish that punishment.
While OHCHR acknowledges efforts by the Government to review cases of individuals awaiting capital punishment since the new statutory provisions -that removed the mandatory death penalty for certain crimes- came into force in 2013, the UN Human Rights Office appeals to Singapore to take necessary measures to review and abolish the death penalty for drug offences. OHCHR also encourage the Government to establish an official moratorium on all executions in accordance with General Assembly resolutions (Resolution 67/176 in 2012, 65/206 in 2010, 63/138 in 2008, and 62/149 in 2007); and commute all death sentences.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Regional Office for South-East Asia
ESCAP, UN Secretariat Building
6th Floor, Block A
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200
Tel. (662) 288 1235, Fax. (662) 288 1039