The International Drug Policy Consortiumreports on amendments to Thailand's drug laws, which took effect on 16 January 2017. The reform momentum was driven largely by prison overcrowding and a growing prison population, and the legislative amendments will result in reduced penalties and more proportionate sentencing.
A joint statement by FIACAT, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and PRI at the biennial high-level meeting on the death penalty at the Human Rights Council in February 2017 is available on the PRI website in both French and English. The panel discussion focused on exchanging views to address the human rights violations related to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The statement calls on the Council to conduct an in-depth legal study on the emergence of a customary rule prohibiting the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.
The UN's Human Rights Office is calling for input for a report on the use of the death penalty - in particular on the consequences arising from the imposition and application of the death penalty on the human rights of the person facing the sentence and other affected persons, paying specific attention to the right to equality and non-discrimination, including foreign nationals. The deadline to send input is 31 March 2017.
The death penalty in Europe
An article by Oliver Robertson for Open Democracy discusses why the far right must stop talking about the death penalty in Europe - even for the most heinous crimes.
On 10 January 2017, São Tomé and Príncipe ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and became its 84th State party. Madagascar approved a law authorising the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol on 17 January 2017.
In a report submitted to the Human Rights Council, Nils Melzer, the incoming UN Special Rapporteur on torture gives an overview of the activities of the mandate during the reporting cycle. In the report, he outlines his working methods, his thematic priorities and his vision for a meaningful anti-torture advocacy, in close cooperation with existing mechanisms.