International anti-drug operations and the death penalty

Posted by ap507 at Nov 06, 2015 12:50 PM |
EU involvement to be discussed at University of Leicester Scarman Lecture to take place on 11 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 6 November 2015

A human rights campaigner is to speak at the University of Leicester on how European Union support for anti-drug operations internationally should change in light of the increased use of the death penalty for drug offences.

Maya Foa from the not-for-profit organisation Reprieve will deliver the latest Scarman Lecture for the Department of Criminology. Her talk, entitled 'European Aid for Executions', will take place on Wednesday 11 November at 5.15pm in the Frank & Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Maya, the Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team, will discuss Reprieve’s Stop Aid for Execution campaign which aims to expose the lethal failings of European counter-narcotics strategies, challenge the policies and attitudes which underpin them, and ultimately end European and international support for the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide.

It is illegal under international law to impose the death penalty for drug offences. UN experts have described the death penalty for drug offences as “incompatible with fundamental tenets of human rights.” The death penalty is completely prohibited in European Union countries.

The last 12 months have seen a global resurgence in the use of the death penalty for drug offences with a number of states executing people for drug-related offences at a significantly increased rate; seeking to re-introduce the death penalty for drug offences; or ending long-standing death penalty moratoria. The NGO Iran Human Rights has published figures showing that Iran has hanged more than 500 people for drug-related charges in 2015 up to October 2015 – exceeding last year’s total of 367. The 500 make up the majority of the 800 people that IHR believes Iran has executed this year in total. 

Despite the rising rate of executions, the EU continues to fund counter-narcotics programs via UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which oversees anti-drug operations in countries which apply the death penalty for drug offences, such as Iran and Pakistan.

Professor Jo Phoenix, Head of the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester, said: “We are honoured to have Ms Foa provide a Scarman Lecture. The work of Reprieve is vital in exposing and then holding to account governments, including our own, for actions and policies that fall short of the ideals of justice and humanity in modern democracies.”

The lecture 'European Aid for Executions' takes place on Wednesday 11 November at 5.15pm in the Frank & Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building, University of Leicester. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ends

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Professor Jo Phoenix on jp353@leicester.ac.uk.

 

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