World Coalition Against the Death Penalty along with abolitionist activists worldwide will mark the 13th World Day against the Death Penalty by drawing attention to the death penalty for drug crimes.

10 Oct 2015 |

Thirty-three countries and territories provide the death penalty, at least in name, for drug smuggling, according to Harm Reduction International, a drug-focused NGO and a member of the World Coalition. Most are either in Asia or in the Middle East, and in most of them executions are extremely rare.

In some the death penalty for drug crimes is just symbolic. Only in seven countries are drug offenders known to be routinely executed. This list has for some time included China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Indonesia is now included following a number of executions in 2015. Throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, the number of countries enacting capital drug laws rose dramatically. In 1979, about ten countries had the death penalty for drugs. By 1985, that number had risen to twenty-two and by 2000, to thirty-six. Today, the number has gone down to thirty-three countries. The reason this rise was so lamentable was that it corresponded with the remarkable global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.

A new paradigm to address the drug problem must be less centered on repressive measures and more mindful of national societies and cultures. This effort must involve not only governments but all sectors of society.

Share this on: