Seminar studies end to "inhumane" death penalty
Bangkok - The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in cooperation with Thailand's Ministry of Justice has been holding a seminar in Bangkok on moving away from the death penalty in Southeast Asia.
Participants included international experts and government representatives, the Asean Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights, parliaments, national human rights institutions, the legal profession, academia and civil society.
"This regional meeting comes at a crucial time as the international movement for abolition of the death penalty continues to grow in strength and influence," said Mr. Ibrahim Najjar, former Minister of Justice of Lebanon and currently commissioner at the International Commission against the Death Penalty.
During the two-day seminar, participants discussed the situation in Southeast Asia as well as international standards regulating the use of the death penalty. "While challenges remain, experience in Southeast Asia discussed in this seminar tend to confirm the global trend of moving away from the death penalty," said Professor William Schabas, a prominent international expert on the question of capital punishment. He said he was confident more countries in the region would take significant steps toward the abolition of the death penalty in coming years.
Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn from Chulalongkorn University who acted as chair for the seminar, said this first regional meeting was an important milestone for further discussion at the national and regional level on this critical issue, including through the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.
"This dialogue among experts from the region is essential to end this unjust and inhumane practice which often affects the most marginalized," said Professor Muntarbhorn. He argued it was hard to reconcile the death penalty with fundamental human rights, especially the right to life.