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ID: 895

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Practice

Topics: Drug Policy Reform and Advocacy; Punitive Laws and Law Enforcement

Presenting author: Rick Lines

Presenting author biography:

Rick Lines is Executive Director of Harm Reduction International. He founded HRI’s death penalty for drugs project in 2007, and is known for his leading research and advocacy on the issue.

Building global and regional action against the death penalty for drug offences

Rick Lines, Cinzia Brentari

Launched in 2007, Harm Reduction International’s death penalty for drugs project has succeeded in mainstreaming this issue within human rights and drug policy reform sectors, as well as making it a serious wedge issue within the UN drug control regime. With a decade of continuous work on this issue, HRI is recognised within both the abolitionist sector and the drug policy reform sector as the leading expert group on this key issue. Our research and back-room engagement with UNODC led directly to the agency's explicit opposition to the application of the death penalty for drug offences. Similarly, HRI's research on links between international donor aid and executions for drugs led directly to guidelines on such funding within both the EU Parliament and UNODC. Our specific investigation on donor links to executions directly contributed to several EU States withdrawing financial support for drug enforcement in Iran.

In seeking to end the death penalty for drug offences, Asia continues to be a key terrain for advocacy, as the region is home to several of the most prolific death penalty States. One of these is Indonesia, where mass executions of drug offenders in 2015 and 2016 drew national and international criticism. This presentation will describe a new three-year project between HRI, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (Indonesia) and partner NGOs in India and Malaysia to advance research, advocacy and networking on the issue at global, regional and national levels. Funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, HRI’s project will pursue a diverse programme of work, including global research and monitoring; international advocacy with donors and UN bodies; advocacy and capacity building work and support to law reform in Indonesia; and regional networking meetings to bring together abolitionist and drug policy reform/harm reduction advocates.