HRI seeks a Malaysia-based consultant/organization to carry out research and advocacy on fair trial in capital cases

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To conduct desk-based as well as qualitative research on access to justice and fair trial in capital cases in Malaysia, with a focus on trials for drug offences.


Harm Reduction International (HRI) is a leading NGO dedicated to reducing the negative health, social and legal impacts of drug use and drug policy. We promote the rights of people who use drugs and their communities through research and advocacy to help achieve a world where drug policies and laws contribute to healthier, safer societies.

Since 2007, HRI has carried out targeted research and advocacy on the death penalty for drug offences. Currently, HRI is implementing a European Union co-funded project titled “Comprehensive Actions against the Death Penalty for Drug Offences”, which combines global monitoring and research work with advocacy on the abolition of the death penalty, and capacity building for strategic civil society stakeholders.

The project aims at contributing to reduced application of the death penalty for drug offences globally, as a strategic step towards the total abolition of the death penalty.

The Malaysian context

Capital punishment is a central tool of drug control in Malaysia. In October 2019, 932 of the 1,279 individuals on death row in the country had been convicted of drug offences. Although information on individual cases is limited, credible reports by the media as well as non-governmental organisation indicate that many – if not most – death row prisoners come from a vulnerable socio-economic background; and have suffered significant violations of their fair trial rights.

In recent years, Malaysia has taken steps towards a reduced application of the death penalty.

In late 2017, a reform to the domestic narcotics legislation removed the death penalty as a mandatory punishment for drug trafficking in the presence of specific certain circumstances.

On 10 October 2018, the newly-elected government pledged to abolish the death penalty. Although met with praise at the local as well as international level, by March 2019 the government had significantly reviewed its position, and is now considering a more limited reform. Political pressure and opposition to the reform by part of the public appear to have influenced such decision.

In this context, it is crucial that more information be provided to key stakeholders (such as policymakers and legal professionals) and to the public on (1) the background and the stories of the individuals sentenced to death in the country, and (2) the limitations of the criminal justice system in upholding fair trial rights and guarantees in capital cases.


  • Assess the application of fair trial law and procedure in capital cases, through legal review and analysis of case studies;
  • Disseminate the results of the research through:
  • A thematic report;
  • A seminar, organised in Malaysia, for legal professionals and other stakeholders.


The consultant/organization will be required to provide the following:

1) Proposed description of the activity.

2) Proposed timeline of implementation of the project with final deadline before 31 December 2019, also featuring:

  • Desk-based research;
  • Field-work and qualitative research;
  • Drafting and publication of report;
  • Dissemination seminar (to be organized together with HRI)

3) Proposed budget, within the limit of Eur 20,000, including:

  • Human resources cost
  • Meetings-related costs

By the end of the assignment:

  • A thematic report in English, also featuring case studies;
  • A dissemination seminar organized in Malaysia.

Place of work: Malaysia

Reports to: Giada Girelli, Human rights analyst (HRI).

Duration of consultancy: The project will last indicatively six (6) months, and it is to be concluded by 31 December 2019.

Deadline for application: May 21, 2019. Please send the following to Giada.girelli[at]hri[dot]global:

  • Description of the consultant/organization background and experience (including expertise on the death penalty and experience working in Malaysia) – not more than one page;
  • Draft, summary activity plan;
  • Proposed budget, within the limit of Eur 20,000, including human resources costs, meeting and related travel costs for all deliverable activities.

© 2019 Harm Reduction International.

Charity number – 1117375 | Company number – 3223265

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