Press release: CND Vigil for Mercy in Indonesia (post event)
On the 11th of March, 2015, international and Indonesian activists held a Vigil for Mercy at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria. Organised by the International Network of People who use Drugs (INPUD), Persuaduraan Korban Napza Indonesia (PKNI) and Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN), the vigil sought to bring attention to, and call for an end to, the recent wave of executions for drug related offences in Indonesia.
The CND is an annual meeting where member states come together to make decisions on a wide range of issues relating to the global drug control system.
This year all eyes are on Indonesia as it ended its de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty in 2013. With a renewed national commitment to the ‘war on drugs’ President Widodo has displayed an enthusiasm for executing those convicted of drug trafficking. This is despite the fact that his actions are straining diplomatic relations with other nations, including the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil, whose citizens are currently on death row in Indonesia. The application of the death penalty for drug offences brings Indonesia into conflict with a number of international human rights instruments to which it is a signatory, and which specifically rule out its use in such cases; and they run counter to a growing international consensus that the death penalty should never be applied for drug related offences.
The Annual Report released by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) at the CND this week calls upon states to abolish the death penalty for such offences. This brings the INCB into alignment with statements made by UNODC, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary General, and other UN agencies.
Amongst others, Richard Branson has called for support for INPUD’s ‘Open Letter Demanding An Immediate Cessation of Ongoing Executions of People in Indonesia for Drugs Offences’, describing the executions as a “barbaric and inhuman form of punishment that has long been proven to achieve absolutely nothing to deter or prevent crime”.
The Vigil for Mercy brought this message to Indonesian and international delegates. A group of approximately 40-50 activists from across a range of civil society organisations gathered outside the VIC train station, and wore blindfolds as an allusion to the gruesome procedure of execution, that those on death row face. In January 2015 six were executed, and it is expected that a further ten will be killed this month.
The death penalty is no solution. Drug issues cannot be solved by executions, but require a health and human rights framework that most critically, respects the right to life. A petition was circulated amongst delegates and civil society allies declaring that no state, no institution, and no person has the right to take a life. It calls upon President Widodo to cancel the planned executions, to immediately reinstate the moratorium on executions for drug offences, and ultimately to abolish it.
The Vigil for Mercy is part of, and was held in solidarity with, a growing, broader movement of opposition towards the application of the death penalty for drug offences at local, national and international levels.
We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the brutality of state-sanctioned killing.
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Event images (high resolution images on request)
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