33 countries or territories continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences, resulting in approximately 1,000 executions annually. Drug-related offences account for the majority of executions carried out in some countries and are mandatorily punished by death in a number of States
«I support the calls by the UN Secretary General, the International Narcotics Control Board, and many Member States for the abolition of the death penalty for drug offences. The arbitrary deprivation of life is not limited to judicial executions and extends to summary executions by military and police, and the unnecessary use of lethal force in the context of drug enforcement. All States must adhere to international human rights law and existing standards with regard to the use of force in all anti-drug operations. I am seriously concerned that State policies can contribute to and worsen violent criminal drug markets within which homicides increase significantly, and I call on States to focus their attention during the UNGASS on the reduction of violence related to the drug enforcement».
«Io sostengo la richiesta del Segretario generale, dell’ International Narcotics Control Board e di molti Stati membri di abolizione della pena di morte per reati di droga. La privazione arbitraria della vita non è per altro limitata alle sentenze e alle esecuzioni legali, ma si estende alle esecuzioni sommarie da parte di militari e polizia, e l’uso non necessario della forza fino alla morte in contesti di repressione inerente le droghe. Tutti gli stati devono aderire alle normative internazionali sui diritti umani, ed estendere gli standard con riferimento all’uso della forza in tutte le operazioni anti droga. Sono seriamente preoccupato che le polizie possano contribuire a peggiorare la situazione nei contesti del mercato illegale delle droghe, in cui vi è un significativo aumento degli omicidi e mi appello agli Stati perché concentrino i loro sforzi, durante UNGASS 2016, sulla riduzione della violenza correlata alla repressione»
Apoyo la petición del Secretario General, del International Narcotics Control Board y de muchos Estados miembros a abolir la pena de muerte para delitos de drogas. La privación arbitraria de la vida no es limitada a los juicios y ejecuciones legales, sino que se extiende a las ejecuciones sumarias por los militares y la policía, y el uso innecesario de la fuerza hasta la muerte en contextos represivos inherentes a las drogas. Todos los estados deben cumplir con las normas internacionales de derechos humanos, y extender las normas con referencia al utilizo de la fuerza en todas las operaciones de lucha contra las drogas. Estoy seriamente preocupado de que la policía puede contribuir a empeorar la situación en los contextos de mercado de las drogas ilegales, donde hay un aumento significativo de los asesinatos y es por eso que hago un llamamiento a los Estados para que concentren sus esfuerzos durante la UNGASS de 2016, en temas como la reducción de la violencia relacionada con la represión.
Letter by the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health, Dainius P?ras, in the context of the preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the Drug Problem (UNGASS)
«Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that, in those States which have not abolished the death penalty, the sentence of death can only be applied for the “most serious crimes”. The Human Rights Committee has determined that drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”
Nevertheless, it has been estimated that 33 countries or territories continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences, resulting in approximately 1,000 executions annually. Drug-related offences account for the majority of executions carried out in some countries and are mandatorily punished by death in a number of States
The right to life of persons convicted of drug-related offences should be protected and, in accordance with article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, such persons should not be subject to the death penalty. The right to life should be protected by law enforcement agencies in their efforts to address drug-related crime, and only proportional force should be used, when necessary. Extrajudicial killings should be subject to prompt, independent and effective investigations to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.»
«L’articolo 6 della Convenzione internazionale sui diritti civili e politici prevede che, negli stati che non hanno abolito la pena di morte, le condanne a morte possano essere applicate solo ai “più gravi reati”. Il Comitato per i diritti umani ha sancito che i reati per droga non sono da considerarsi tra i “più gravi reati”. E tuttavia, si è stimato che 33 paesi continuano ad imporre la pena di morte per reati di droga, con un ammontare di circa 1000 esecuzioni l’anno. In alcuni stati i reati per droga rappresentano la maggior parte delle esecuzioni, mentre in altri è obbligatoria comminare la pena di morte per questo tipo di reati. Il diritto alla vita delle persone colpevoli di reati di droga dovrebbe essere garantito, in accordo con l’articolo 6 della Convenzione internazionale sui diritti civili e politici, e non dovrebbero essere condannati a morte. Il diritto alla vita dovrebbe essere protetto dalle stesse agenzie del controllo e della repressione, nel momento in cui lottano contro i crimini droga correlati, e quando necessario dovrebbe essere usata una forza proporzionata. Gli omicidi extragiudiziali dovrebbero essere prontamente e efficacemente perseguiti, attraverso un’azione di indagine indipendente, per assicurare alla giustizia i responsabili»
«El artículo 6 de la Convención Internacional para los Derechos Civiles y Políticos establece que, en los estados que no han abolido la pena de muerte, la pena de muerte sólo puede aplicarse a los “delitos más graves”. La Comisión para los Derechos Humanos ha dictaminado que los delitos de drogas no se consideran entre los “más graves delitos”. Y, sin embargo, se estima que 33 países siguen imponiendo la pena de muerte por delitos de drogas, con un total de alrededor de 1.000 ejecuciones al año. En algunos países los delitos de drogas representan la mayoría de las ejecuciones, mientras que en otros es obligatorio imponer la pena de muerte para estos delitos. El derecho a la vida de las personas culpables de delitos de drogas debe garantizarse, de conformidad con el artículo 6 de la Convención Internacional para los Derechos Civiles y Políticos, y esas personas no deberían ser condenadas a muerte. El derecho a la vida debe ser protegido por los mismos organismos de control y represión, a la vez que luchan contra los delitos relacionados con las drogas, y cuando sea necesario se debe utilizar una fuerza proporcionada. Las ejecuciones extrajudiciales deben ser rápida y efectivamente perseguidas a través de acciones de investigación independiente, para llevar ante la justicia a los responsables».
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights- Study on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights (A HRC 30 65 E)
Joint Statement: The Death Penalty For Drug-Related Offences
Joint Statement signed by 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 to highlight to Member States of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the preparatory Board of the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs the continued use by some countries of the death penalty for drug-related offences despite clear restrictions set out in international law.
find out more: World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2015
There are at least 33 countries and territories that prescribe the death penalty for drugs in law.
At least 10 countries have the death penalty for drugs as a mandatory sanction.
In 2013, around 549 people were believed to have been executed for drugs. However this estimate cannot be considered comprehensive, and it is likely there were more executions than those publicly recorded.
Executions for drugs took place in at least seven countries since 2010.
As of 2015, there are believed to be almost 900 people on death row for drugs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan, and many hundreds more in China, Iran and Vietnam.
find out more: Harm Reduction International
The death penalty not the solution to drug-related crime
Amnesty International recorded executions and death sentences for drug-related offences in 11 countries between 2014 and 2015. In most of these cases, the defendants’ right to a fair trial and other international safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty were violated and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds were disproportionately affected
find out more: Amnesty International
Drug offences can still get you the death penalty in over 30 countries
In Iran, thousands of people have been executed for drug offences since 1959, when this type of crime was made punishable by death. There have been at least 829 executions from January to 20 September 2015 in Iran. Of these, at least 571 have been for drug-related offende.
find out more: Amnesty International
Global Prison Trends 2015. Focus: Drugs and imprisonment
The enforcement of drug laws has major implications for the use and practice of imprisonment the world over.
This special feature seeks to map out the various ways in which a country’s drug policy impacts on its prisons.
Although the death penalty for drug offences is non-compliant with international law, it is retained by 33 countries. Around 1,000 people are executed every year as a result. In 2013, the death penalty was used for drug-related offences in a number of countries, including China, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, Viet Nam and Yemen.
900 prisoners awaiting execution in Malaysia in October 2012 were drug offenders. In October 2014, 111 prisoners on death row in Pakistan were drug offenders.
In some States, ethnic minorities and marginalised groups living in poverty are disproportionately targeted by drug enforcement efforts.24 Statistics also show that very large proportions of foreign nationals in prison are charged with or convicted of drug related offences particularly trafficking. Drug law enforcement also disproportionately impacts on minorities.
In the USA, African Americans make up 13 per cent of the population. Yet they account for 33.6 per cent of drug arrests and 37 per cent of people sent to state prison on drug charges. Black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people despite comparable usage rates.25 Similar racial disparities have been observed elsewhere including the UK, Canada and Australia.
find out more: Penal Reform International
Which countries have the death penalty for drug smuggling
Thirty-two countries, plus Gaza, impose the death penalty for drug smuggling, according to Harm Reduction International (HRI), a drug-focused NGO. All but four (America, Cuba, Sudan and South Sudan) are in Asia or the Middle East. But in most of these countries executions are extremely rare. Fourteen, including America and Cuba, have the death penalty on the books for drug traffickers but do not apply it in practice. Only in six countries—China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore—are drug offenders known to be routinely executed, according to HRI’s most recent analysis. (Indonesia will soon join this list, following its recent executions.) In Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria the data are murky.
find out more: The Economist
The criminalization of drugs and the death penalty
Laws that subject drug offenders to hanging, the firing squad,lethal injection and beheading are inextricably linked to the international war on drugs.
The international drug control system must share the blame. Treaties that promote strict and severe punishments for drug offenses have opened the door to such responses. UN human rights and drug control bodies now recognize that the death penalty for drugs violates international law. However, a number of states parties to the drug control treaties argue that capital drug laws are a permissible sanction. The 2016 UN drugs debate offers an opportunity to harmonize international policies and practices.
find out more: Open Society Foundations
European Aid for Executions
In December 2014 Reprieve’s “European Aid for Executions” report revealed that UNODC “supply reduction” programmes have enabled more than 3,000 brutal executions in Iran and at least 112 pending death sentences in Pakistan.
These links were established by comparing the specific counter-narcotics programmes supported by European donors in Iran and Pakistan, the timings of their contributions, and recorded death sentences and executions.
find out more: Reprieve
On World Day against Death Penalty, UN says practice deters neither drug crimes nor abuse
According to the experts, more than 30 States have legal provisions providing the death penalty for drug-related crimes and in some of them, such cases make up a significant proportion of the total number of executions carried out.
Cristof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in many States where the death penalty is used for drug-related offences, there is not a system of fair trial.
find out more: United Nations
The impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights
Human Rights Council resolution
The right to life of persons convicted of drug-related offences should be protected and, in accordance with article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, such persons should not be subject to the death penalty. The right to life should be protected by law enforcement agencies in their efforts to address drug-related crime, and only proportional force should be used, when necessary. Extrajudicial killings should be subject to prompt, independent and effective investigations to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice
find out more: United Nations
European Parliament resolution on the death penalty
European Parliament calls on the EU and its Member States to ensure that the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in April 2016 on the World Drug Problem addresses the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences, and condemns its application
find out more: European Parliament