DRAFT STATEMENT FOR COMMENT)
INPUD’s recent Position Statement on the use of the death penalty for drug offences. An excerpt and link to the full statement….
The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), in representing the rights and needs of drug users, emphatically opposes the unjust and ineffective policy of drug prohibition, including excessive punishments for those who produce, use or supply drugs.
INPUD’s opposition to the death penalty is based on both moral and practical grounds. Capital punishment is a violation of the Declaration for Human Rights, especially its fundamental tenets on the right to life and that no one be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment. There is no proof that the death penalty operates as a deterrent, or that it reduces crime at all. Judicial systems are subject to human error: and reports of mistaken identity, false or misleading evidence and forced confessions are not uncommon from retentionist countries. But the death penalty, once carried out, cannot be reversed. Drug crimes are generally economic, non-violent and victimless offences; as such, they should never result in capital punishment. Even the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has, in highlighting “proportionality”, acknowledged that some countries are getting “carried away” with drug crime punishments, the most unconscionable of which is execution. Excessive punishments have also been shown to restrict development of and access to more effective responses to drug related harm, including drug treatment programs.
• INPUD joins Human Rights Watch and the International Harm Reduction Association call upon governments to urgently establish a moratorium on executions with a view to the abolition of the death penalty and to commute all death sentences, particularly for drug offenses
• INPUD also call on UNODC and INCB to harmonise their policies (and those of member states) with UN human rights principles without delay.
More than two thirds of the governments of the world have demonstrated respect for human rights by abolishing capital punishment. While abolition has become the norm (with, for example, only Belarus in Europe still allowing for it), and some countries that retain the death penalty for murder and other violent crimes do not execute offenders for drug-related crimes, there has been an escalation in application of the death penalty for drug trafficking in some countries. Countries which have carried out executions for drug offences in recent years include China, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.
This paper sets out the rationale for ending capital punishment, particularly as applied to drug related offenses.
To read the rest of INPUD’s position statement, click link: INPUD Position Statement on capital punishment for drug related offences for INPUD V1
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