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    About HRI

    HRI is a leading non-governmental organisation working to reduce the negative health, social and human rights impacts of drug use and drug policy by promoting evidence-based public health policies and practices, and human rights based approaches to drugs. Read more about HRI’s history.

    Vision and Mission

    Our vision is a world in which individuals and communities benefit from drug laws, policies and practices that promote health, dignity and human rights.

    Staff

    Meet our staff at HRI

    Governance

    HRI is governed by a nine person Board of Directors, elected for three-year terms.

    What is harm reduction?

    Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to reduce the harms associated with the use of psychoactive drugs in people unable or unwilling to stop. The defining features are the focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself, and the focus on people who continue to use drugs.

    Harm reduction definition and principles in 12 languages

    Contact Us

    Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or queries about our website, our work, membership or the international harm reduction conference.

    Donors

    HRI benefits from the generous support of the Open Society Foundations, the European Commission, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the MAC AIDS Fund, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Bank, The Robert Carr Networks Fund and the Swiss Government.

    Harm Reduction International Awards

    HRI presents a number of awards at outr international conference to acknowledge the contributions of outstanding groups or individuals in the field.

    Strategic Plan

    Our vision is a world in which individuals and communities benefit from drug policies, laws and practices that promote health, dignity and human rights

  • Our Work

    Evidence for advocacy

    HRI produces groundbreaking research and policy analysis informing advocacy across our sector.

    Spending where it matters

    Funding for harm reduction services is dangerously short while billions are wasted on drug enforcement. HRI works to assess resourcing needs and advocates for a reinvestment in health.

    Harm Reduction Decade

    Read our latest report calling for a Harm Reduction Decade, sign the Harm Reduction Decade Declaration, call for #10by20, and stand up for human rights of people who use drugs, their families and communities.

    10 by 20 Campaign

    We are calling on governments to redirect 10% of the resources currently spent on ineffective punitive responses to drugs and invest it in harm reduction by 2020.

    Human rights-based policy

    Human rights abuses and drug enforcement go hand in hand. HRI challenges laws, policies and practices that generate harm.

    The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

    HRI monitors the death penalty for drugs in law and practice worldwide, and also considers critical developments on the issue.

    Sector strengthening

    HRI builds advocacy coalitions and supports emerging harm reduction networks to strengthen the international harm reduction sector.

    International conference

    Harm reduction is a global movement. Our biennial gathering is the International Harm Reduction Conference, convened by HRI.

  • News

    News and Announcements

    Read the latest announcements and updates from HRI.

  • Global State of Harm Reduction

    Global State of Harm Reduction

    Our flagship publication is the biennial Global State of Harm Reduction report. First published in 2008, it involves a coordinated effort across practitioners, academics, advocates and activists to map global data and responses to HIV and hepatitis C epidemics related to unsafe injecting and non-injecting drug use. It is the only report to provide an independent analysis of the state of harm reduction in the world. The information collated within the report is stored and regularly updated on an interactive e-tool for researchers and advocates.

    The Global State of Harm Reduction report is supplemented by regular thematic reports and advisories on key issues and emerging challenges. Please search our Resource Library for more information or join our e-list for regular updates.

    Interactive e-tool

    Global State of Harm Reduction’ e-tool is an interactive resource containing up-to-date information on harm reduction policy and programming around the world. Users can select countries or regions and create tables for an at-a-glance guide to the current state of harm reduction worldwide.

  • Resource Library

    Resource Library

    Use our extensive resource library to search for HRI, NGO and academic reports, articles and presentations, including materials from past international conferences.

    Harm Reduction Journal

    Harm Reduction Journal, www.harmreductionjournal.com, is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal whose focus is on the prevalent patterns of psychoactive drug use, the public policies meant to control them, and the search for effective methods of reducing the adverse medical, public health, and social consequences associated with both drugs and drug policies.

  • Contact Us

    Contact Us

    Harm Reduction International
    Unit 2C09 Southbank Technopark
    90 London Road
    London
    SE1 6LN  

    Tel: +44(0) 207 717 1592
    Join us on Facebook at: Harm Reduction International
    Follow us on Twitter at: HRInews
    Join us on Instagram at: hrinews

  • HR19

    Conference 2019

    The 26th Harm Reduction International Conference (HR19) which will take place April 28-May 1 in Porto, Portugal at the Alfândega Porto Congress Centre.

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2017

Our Global Overview series monitors the death penalty for drugs in law and practice worldwide, and also considers critical developments on the issue. Since being launched in 2007, Harm Reduction International's death penalty work has been the leading global resource on the issue of the death penalty for drug offences.

Among the key findings from the 2017 Global Overview report:

  • At least 33 countries and territories prescribe the death penalty for drug offences in law.
  • At least nine countries still have the death penalty for drug offences as a mandatory sanction, although three of these (Brunei Darussalam, Laos and Myanmar) are abolitionist in practice. Malaysia removed the mandatory sentence for drug offences in November 2017.
  • Between January 2015 and December 2017, at least 1,320 people are known to have been executed for drug-related offences - 718 in 2015; 325 in 2016; and 280 in 2017. These estimates do not include China, as reliable figures continue to be unavailable for the country.
  • Taking China out of the equation due to a lack of data, Iran has been the world’s top executioner for drug offences by far, with at least 1,176 executions carried out since January 2015. That amounts to nearly 90% of all known drug-related executions during that period.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, executions for drug offences took place in at least five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Singapore.

The report also reveals a critical tension: the situation is at once improving and deteriorating. On the one hand, recent positive developments provide a glimmer of hope that the tide could finally be shifting. At the national level, executions for drug offences have been steadily declining in High Application States since 2015, and important legal and policy changes have taken place in several countries, including Iran, Thailand and Malaysia.

At the international level, political support for the abolition of the death penalty for drug offences is also gaining considerable momentum. The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs failed to reach consensus on the death penalty for drug offences, but 73 countries expressed strong support for abolition, proving that the issue is firmly on the radar of the global community.

On the other hand, these signs of progress are being overshadowed by the surge in extrajudicial executions of people accused of using or selling drugs in the Philippines. Worrying signs that Indonesia may be adopting a similar violent response, and the explicit support for President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ expressed by other countries in the region and beyond, raise serious concerns about whether we are seeing a new trend which could normalise the killing of people for drugs and undo years of steady progress.

Find out more about recent developments in the 2017 Global Overview, available here. 

The 2017 Global Overview has been published with support from the European Union.

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The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2015: The Extreme Fringe of Global Drug Policy PDF document

Since being launched in 2007, HRI's death penalty project has been the leading global resource on the issue of the death penalty for drug offences. Our 'Global Overview’ series, one of the… Read more

Joint Statement on the Death Penalty for Drug Offences PDF document

HRI and ten partners issue a statement on the death penalty for drug offences following the launch of the 2014 INCB Annual Report Read more

Death Penalty for Drug Offences Global Overview 2012: Tipping the Scales for Abolition

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2012 – Tipping the Scales for Abolition is Harm Reduction International’s third annual overview on the status of the death penalty for drug… Read more

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2011 - Shared Responsibility & Shared Consequences

‘Global Overview 2011 – Shared Responsibility and Shared Consequences’ is the fourth report on the death penalty for drug-related offences produced by Harm Reduction International. In addition to… Read more

Complicity or Abolition? The Death Penalty and International Support for Drug Enforcement PDF document

Released in June 2010 - Complicity or Abolition? The Death Penalty and International Support for Drug Enforcement - exposes the links between the carrying out of executions and the financial… Read more

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2010 PDF document

Harm Reduction International released a study on the death penalty for drug offences today on the opening day of the 19th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice,… Read more

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences PDF document

On 10th December 2007 – to coincide with International Human Rights Day – Harm Reduction International’s HR2 (harm reduction and human rights) team released a major report entitled The Death Penalty… Read more

Download a PDF of "The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2017"

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences – Global Overview 2018 cover