THE JOINT STATEMENT OF ASIAN ABOLITIONISTS
ON THE 11TH WORLD DAY AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
October 10, 2013
There is increasing recognition among nation states that capital punishment is undesirable. The global movement for the abolition of the death penalty has grown significantly in the past decade, and a milestone was reached when the United Nations General Assembly voted on a moratorium in 2007. According to UN statistics, more than 150 States today have either abolished the death penalty or halted executions.
However, it remains troubling that a number of countries in Asia have ignored these developments and show little sign of moving towards abolition. According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), countries which have not abolished the death penalty may impose the death sentence only for the most serious crimes. Nevertheless, many countries continue to carry out executions in blatant violation of international norms and standards. For example, drug trafficking does not meet the internationally-accepted definition of ‘most serious crimes’, yet many countries continue to execute drug couriers. In other instances, the death penalty has been imposed on individuals in the face of questionable evidence and improper judicial procedures.
The risk of executing an innocent person exists in every justice system. No judiciary, no matter how sophisticated or competent, is able to absolutely guarantee it would never wrongfully execute someone. Its impact as an effective deterrent to crime has also not been demonstrated. The death penalty is revenge, not justice. Abolition is the humane thing to do, and it has the support of many States, and cultures, including the major religions of the world. On the 11th World Day, the abolitionists around Asia join together and urge the authorities of China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan to face the problems and causes behind each crime and to provide necessary support to the victims of crime, and not simply to take more lives in the name of justice.
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty
Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Amnesty International Taiwan Section
Judicial Reform Foundation (Taiwan)
Taiwan Association for Innocence
Taiwan Labour Front
Amnesty International Thailand Section
Amnesty International Hong Kong Section
Abolish the Death Penalty Group, AI-Hong Kong
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, AI-Hong Kong
Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese
Civil Rights Committee, KLSCAH , Malaysia
Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign
We Believe in Second Chances (Singapore)
Think Centre (Singapore)