Asian Regional Congress to focus on death penalty for drug offences

Asian Regional Congress Death PenaltyMore than 300 lawyers, magistrates, parliamentarians, sociologists, theologians, journalists, NGO members and activists will be attending the Asian Regional Congress on the death penalty, which will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11 June to 12 June.

Speakers at the Congress who hail from Singapore include Associate Professor Chan Wing Cheong from the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore, and human rights lawyer M Ravi.

The plenary session will focus on the death penalty used as a penalty for drug offences.

The Congress will be hosting delegates from 30 countries, and will consist of one plenary session, two roundtable discussions and four workshops.

Topics include:

  • The inefficiency of death penalty in drug related crimes.
  • The responsibility of the European countries and UN agencies in financing anti-drug programs in retentionist countries.
  • Make a clear distinction between the death penalty and the mandatory death penalty, and to consider the abolition of the mandatory death penalty as a first step towards total abolition.
  • Personal experiences of members of the Judiciary when dealing with a death penalty cases.
  • Discrimination in the use of the death penalty.
  • Need to respect the criminal procedures set up and guaranteed by the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • Role of diplomacy and international NGOs in promoting abolition.
  • Working with the family of the victims.
  • Integration of educative workshops in academic systems’ curricula

The Congress will also provide an opportunity for journalists to abolitionist actors, lawyers working with people sentenced to death in Asia, and victims’ families.

give-vui-kong-a-2nd-chanceIt will also include a cultural programme, which has a component that showcases letters written by former death-row inmate Yong Vui Kong, who escaped the gallows in Singapore in 2013 when his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment following a change in the law on the mandatory death penalty in Singapore in 2012.

The Asian Regional Congress on the death penalty, held ahead of the next World Congress in Oslo, Norway in June 2016, is co-organised by the French organisation Together Against the Death Penalty (Ensemble contre la peine de mort – ECPM) and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), in partnership with The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the Bar Council Malaysia, under the sponsorship of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with support of the Australian mission to the United Nations in Geneva and the European Union.

The full programme for the conference is available online.