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Drug-Related Offenses and the Death Penalty

Drugs and the Death Penalty: Capital Punishment and Global Drug Control (October 7, 2015)

There are currently thousands of people on death row in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa for drug-related offenses. The international drug control system must share the blame for promoting strict and severe punishments for drug offenses. UN human rights and drug control bodies now recognize that the death penalty for drugs violates international law, but a number of states argue that capital drug laws are a permissible sanction.

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs, the Open Society Foundations and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty hosted a discussion framing capital punishment in the context of international law and global drug control. An international panel of experts discussed the death penalty as it relates to drug offenses in their countries and on a global level. In addition, a brief report was presented outlining key recommendations for UN member states to consider leading up to the special session.

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