Advocacy at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

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Joint Statement Delivered to African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Gambian National Assembly’s introduction of the death penalty for drug offences.

Harm Reduction International raised objections to the Gambian National Assembly’s introduction of the death penalty for drug offences and delivered a statement at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 48th Ordinary Session in Banjul.

Harm Reduction International co-signed the statement with Penal Reform International (PRI), Foundation for International Human Rights (FHRI), International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT) and World organization against Torture (OMCT).

The new law in Gambia imposes capital punishment for anyone convicted of possessing more than 250 grams of cocaine or heroin. If the law enters into force, as it appears it will, Gambia will become the 33rd country or area that prescribes the death penalty for drugs and one of very few that make such a punishment mandatory.

Both the imposition of the death penalty for drugs and the enforcement of such penalties as a mandatory sanction are violations of commonly recognised international human rights norms. For a more in-depth analysis and the full list of countries that prescribe the death penalty for drugs, please see Harm Reduction International’s report, ‘The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2010’.

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