UN Human Rights Office calls on Singapore to halt execution of Nigerian national

BANGKOK (17 November 2016) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia calls on Singapore to urgently halt the scheduled execution of Nigerian national Chijioke Stephen Obioha, and urges the Government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Chijioke Stephen Obioha, who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in April 2007, is due to be hanged on 18 November.

Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of “most serious crimes”. Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.

“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse,” said Laurent Meillan, the acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office. “The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective.”

“I urge the Singapore Government to halt the execution of Mr. Obioha and commute his death sentence,  taking the important first step of re-instituting a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,” he added.

Several States called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

To read more information on the death penalty in South-East Asia, view UNHR’s publication entitled “Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Lessons in South-East Asia“: