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NHRIs set to tackle the death penalty

Graphic: Two men walking in prison yard

A new APF program is encouraging member institutions to work towards the abolition of the death penalty in their countries and across the region.

The APF has called for proposals from national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific setting out how they intend to work towards the abolition of the death penalty in their countries or across the region.

A report considered by Forum Councillors at the 21st APF Annual Meeting in 2016 described patchy progress towards abolition of the death penalty across the Asia Pacific, despite positive developments in other parts of the world.

The report outlines a series of general recommendations for NHRIs to consider, including, among others, reviewing their State's criminal code, monitoring trials in all capital cases, and monitoring pre-trial and post-trial detention.

In addition, the report includes specific recommendations for NHRIs in those countries that retain the death penalty.

Up to four proposals from APF members will be selected in March using a merit selection process, with successful NHRIs receiving practical and financial support to implement the report's recommendations.

Man sitting alone in cell

The selected projects for the Abolition of the Death Penalty Project, which is supported by the Government of Australia, will be featured on the APF website.

Using an approach similar to the Torture Prevention Ambassadors program, successful NHRIs will receive mentoring and support to strengthen their capacity on substantive issues related to abolition of the death penalty, as well as in other key areas such as communication and project management.

They will also promote best practices in promotion of the abolition of the death penalty through writing blogs, participating in interviews and engaging with the media.

"The project will support successful NHRIs to develop their knowledge and expertise, build networks with other APF members and make a significant contribution towards the abolition of the death penalty in their countries," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"We will also share the lessons learned through these projects to help inform and inspire action by others across the region," he said.

Date: 20 February 2017

Image credits

  1. Two men walking in prison yard - APF/Michael Power
  2. Man sitting alone in cell - APF/Michael Power