FIDH attends landmark regional congress on death penalty

10/06/2015
Press release
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FIDH and several of its Asian member organizations will participate in the second Regional Congress on the Death Penalty on 11-12 June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The first Regional Congress on the Death Penalty took place in Morocco in 2012 and focused on the Middle East and North Africa. This year’s congress, jointly organized by Together against the Death Penalty (Ensemble contre la peine de mort - ECPM) and the World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP), is the first time the event will be held in and focused on Asia.

Each year, more people are executed in Asia than in the rest of the world combined. It is crucial that key actors from the region meet and work together to define concrete strategies and actions towards the abolition of the death penalty,” said Florence Bellivier, FIDH Deputy Secretary General and WCADP President.

Three hundred participants from 30 countries will attend the two-day regional congress. Attendees include representatives from civil society, governments, and intergovernmental organizations working in the region. Five FIDH member organizations from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, and Thailand will attend the event.

The regional congress will include thematic sessions on drugs and the death penalty, unfair trials, mandatory death penalty sentences, and educational programs on abolishing the death penalty. FIDH and its member organisations will also focus on country-specific situations to include the use of mass executions in Iran; the resumption of executions in Singapore, Indonesia, and Pakistan; the imposition of capital punishment for drug crimes, particularly in Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam; and the situation of women on death row in Thailand.

The Regional Congress on the Death Penalty will be followed by the WCADP General Assembly on 13 June in Kuala Lumpur, where the organization will elect its new leaders for 2-year terms.

Representatives from FIDH and its member organizations will be available for interviews and comment on the congress, the WCADP General Assembly, and the topics discussed.

Background

Asia is the main retentionist region in the world and progress towards the abolition of the death penalty has been difficult. Three of the world’s major economic powers - China, Japan, and India - still carry out executions. Several countries in the region do not publish any statistics regarding the use of the death penalty and a public opinion that supports capital punishment is still a major challenge towards abolition. The number of persons executed in many countries in Asia, including China, Vietnam, Indonesia, North Korea, and Iran, exceeds the number of persons involved in violent crimes because the death penalty is often imposed for drug-related and white-collar crimes. Recently, the region has faced serious setbacks. India resumed executions and extended the scope of capital punishment in 2013; the Maldives extended the scope of capital punishment to minors in 2014; and Pakistan lifted its seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in 2014.

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