On 22nd – 23rd October 2013, the Executive Directors were invited, amongst five international experts, as key speakers to the first regional meeting on “Moving Away from the Death Penalty in South East Asia” in Bangkok. Other key speakers included Professor William Schabas of Middlesex University (UK), Professor Sandra Babcock of Northwestern University (USA) and Dr Mai Sato of Oxford University (UK).
The seminar, organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Thailand, was attended by prominent international lawyers and academics, experts from ten ASEAN countries, representatives from Governments, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and national non-governmental organisations.
The object of the meeting was to provide a forum for international experts to exchange views on international and regional practices related to the question of death penalty reform and to monitor the latest developments on the death penalty in South East Asia. Participants reviewed international standards regulating the use of the death penalty, discussed fair trial and due process guarantees in the use of the death penalty and addressed the influence of public opinion in relation to the abolition of the death penalty.
Since 2000, the DPP has been involved in a broad range of activities in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. This has varied from providing legal assistance and support to lawyers and NGOs on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, to entering into dialogue with governments and judges across various jurisdictions on the continued use of capital punishment, promoting better practice through the provision of expert training , and seeking compliance with international human rights standards in relation to the use of the death penalty.
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Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (Flickr, Creative Commons), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/