Everyone must be afforded due process rights, especially those facing the ultimate penalty: execution. The DPP has made extraordinary progress in protecting this most fundamental right in a range of jurisdiction.

International Human Rights Day 2016

This Saturday, 10th December, marks the 68th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR affirms the inherent dignity and worth of human life, and declares that all people are entitled to certain rights, simply as a consequence of being human.

This International Human Rights Day the UN is asking people to stand up for someone else’s rights. We are reminded that the treatment and protections we expect to be afforded to us may not be available to others, and that certain people, because of their background, their status or their circumstances, are especially vulnerable to human rights abuses.

Our experience has shown us that it is frequently the most disadvantaged and ill-equipped to defend themselves that end up facing the harshest penalties under the law. Through our legal work and advocacy the Death Penalty Project works to protect the rights of individuals who are most in need of support.

For instance, over the past year we have continued to support foreign nationals on death row in Malaysia, working closely with local lawyers and the diplomatic community to ensure these prisoners are not left without proper legal representation. We have also acted on behalf of juvenile offenders, recognising the right of children to special treatment and protection. In October 2016, the murder conviction of Bahamian juvenile Shavargo Mcphee was overturned following concerns about his treatment in police custody. Aged 17 at the time, McPhee confessed after he had been denied food, received no legal advice and prevented from speaking to a parent for over 31 hours.

In 2016 we also continued to promote better understanding of mental health issues in sentencing and to uphold the rights of those with mental illness. In May we took the case of two Trinidadian prisoners Lester Pitman and Neil Hernandez to the Privy Council to challenge the imposition of the death sentence on those with an intellectual disability.

In the coming year we will carry on acting on behalf of those who are least able to protect themselves and continue our work to restrict the use of the death penalty around the world.

Other News


Legal provision restricting the right to appeal in death penalty cases struck down as a denial of due process

June 2017
In a judgment delivered today, the Privy Council has found unconstitutional a law excluding death ... Read more

British man avoids death penalty after being acquitted of murder in Kenya

June 2017
A British national who was facing the mandatory death penalty for the alleged murder of ... Read more

Mental disorder, the death penalty and international standards in Taiwan

June 2017
On 30th May – 2nd June 2017, Co-Executive Director, Saul Lehrfreund, and forensic psychiatrist, Dr ... Read more

Engaging Chinese lawyers on the death penalty

June 2017
On 3th -4th June the DPP was invited to deliver a series of workshops on ... Read more