16 May 2023

Call on Singapore to halt executions

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Following Singapore's announcement of a second execution this year, Harm Reduction International (HRI) urges Singapore to halt the execution immediately and to impose a moratorium on all executions, including executions for drug-related offences. Once more, we call on all UN agencies and the international community to take urgent action.

Three weeks after executing Mr Tangaraju Suppiah, Singapore plans to carry out another execution for drug offences. According to Transformative Justice Collective, a 37-year-old Singaporean Malay man convicted of trafficking 1.5 kg of cannabis will be executed on Wednesday, 17 May 2023. 

In  2022 we witnessed a global trend towards abolition, with more countries abolishing the death penalty and a historical record of 125 countries supporting a  resolution that calls for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly (A/RES/77/222). In contrast, Singapore’s barbaric practice of executions contributed to a more than 100% increase in executions carried out for drug offences in 2022, as recorded by HRI’s The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2022.

We reiterate, once again, and as has been emphasised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, when applied to an offence that is not resulting directly and internationally in death, such as drug-related offences, the use of the death penalty is incompatible with international standards including Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which limits the imposition of the death penalty only to the “most serious crimes”. The death penalty for drug offences also contradicts international drug control law, as indicated by UNODC and the INCB. Further, mandatory death sentences are in contravention of the right to life and the right to a fair trial.

Silence in the face of such grave developments risks being misconstrued as tolerance, if not complicity,  and jeopardises our fragile progress towards full abolition of the death penalty. In addition, it contradicts the UN commitment to “support the development and implementation of policies that put people, health and human rights at the centre.”

We respectfully seek the intervention of all UN agencies in the strongest possible terms, ensuring a coherent and unified approach of the UN in responding to matters related to the death penalty. We urge the international community to use all possible avenues to condemn Singapore’s blatant violation of human rights and to convey to Singapore that their barbaric practice will no longer be tolerated.

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