Pakistan: ADPAN calls on Pakistan to lead in South Asia and for the government to commit to a moratorium on executions

ADPAN appeals to the Pakistani government to extend the informal moratorium introduced in 2008 and halt all future executions.

More than 8000 prisoners face imminent execution after a presidential order suspending executions by the previous government expired on 30 June 2013.

In late 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari suspended executions but this decision is currently being reviewed by the newly elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director Polly Truscott said, “at a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with the law and order situation, it can be all too easy for governments to see the death penalty as a quick fix solution. But the death penalty is not the answer to Pakistan’s justice problems.”

“Resuming executions would do nothing to tackle crime or militancy, but instead just perpetuate a cycle of violence,” she added.

Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson of ADPAN member organisation the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said, “well-documented deficiencies of the law, administration of justice, police investigation methods, as well as chronic corruption in Pakistan today have not improved since the government first decided to suspend executions in 2008…capital punishment allows for a high probability of miscarriages of justice, …wholly unacceptable in any civilised society, but even more so when the punishment is irreversible.”  Zohra Yusuf went on to say, “…the systematic and generalised application of death penalty has not led to an improvement of the situation of law and order in the country…”

This echoes recent comments made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon last month, where he urged member states to abolish the death penalty, “We have a duty to prevent innocent people from paying the ultimate price for miscarriages of justice”.

With the exception of the execution of a soldier in November 2012, death sentences have not been carried out in Pakistan since 2008.

ADPAN with members from across the Asia Pacific region including Pakistan work for an end to the death penalty across the region.

ADPAN members : 

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Prison Fellowship Pakistan

Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD)

JAPAN – Open Letter to Minister of Justice Tanigaki (English)

27 December 2012

Dear Minister

Open Letter: Establishing a Moratorium on Executions in Japan

On the occasion of your appointment as Japan’s new Minister of Justice, Amnesty International takes this opportunity to urge you to introduce a moratorium on executions and to take positive steps to initiate a national public debate on the death penalty in Japan, with a view to its abolition.

Japan is among the minority of countries which still carries out executions. Only 21 out of 198 countries carried out executions in 2011. Japan refrained from using the death penalty in 2011 but has carried out seven executions in 2012. The only other G8 country to carry out executions is the USA.

The fourth UN General Assembly (UNGA) draft resolution[1] calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, which was adopted in November at the Third Committee of the UNGA, received 110 votes in favour, 39 votes against and 36 abstentions, the highest support for such resolutions to date. The plenary session of the UNGA adopted the draft resolution in December. Closer to home, Mongolia ratified the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in January, committing the country to ending use of the death penalty.

Your predecessors have noted the need for Japan to consider the worldwide trend toward abolition of the death penalty. In November 2012, former Minister of Justice Makoto Taki stated that “…countries in Europe have abolished death penalty … and the UN also stated we need to stop executions wherever possible … we need to take into account these international trends”. Japan’s continued use of the death penalty puts it at odds with this unmistakable international trend.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. Our organization calls on you and the Ministry of Justice in Japan to immediately introduce a moratorium on executions and initiate a national public debate aimed at promoting full abolition of the death penalty in Japan.

Yours sincerely

Salil Shetty

Secretary General

Hideki Wakabayashi

Secretary General – Amnesty International Japan

[1] Draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.44/Rev.1.

pdf of letter:

271212 Japan AI lettter appealing for moratorium