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Rights groups join global campaign to abolish death penalty

Graphic: NHRC logo

The NHRC recently joined forces with partner organisations to host a seminar marking the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Human rights groups and legal experts have vowed to push for reforms to abolish the death penalty in Thailand, The Nation reported.

"The death penalty is not the solution to crime suppression," said former Deputy Prime Minister Veerapong Ramangkul at a seminar held at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

As many as 140 countries have abolished capital punishment, Veerapong said, adding that studies showed that executions did little to deter crime.

The seminar, marking the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, was jointly hosted by the NHRC, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department and Amnesty International Thailand.

The majority of prisoners sentenced to death are poor people who could not afford to hire lawyers or take advantage of legal protections, while influential figures often can commit crimes with impunity, Veerapong said.

Capital punishment also violates the human right to life while inflicting harm on those sentenced to death and their families, said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Global Issues Programme at Amnesty International.

He added that grievances caused by executions lead to a "circle of violence".

Thailand has seen a relatively positive trend to abolish capital punishment due to the third NHRC master plan, said Rafendi Djamin, Director of Amnesty International Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

Within ASEAN, Cambodia and the Philippines have legally abolished capital punishment, while Laos, Myanmar and Brunei have stopped carrying out executions in practice.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand are among 58 States worldwide that still carry out executions, according to an Amnesty International report.

However, Thailand has not seen an execution in seven years, said Kannika Saengthong, Deputy Secretary-General of the Justice Ministry, adding that the country tends not to apply capital punishment as frequently as before although it has not yet been abolished in law.

Date: 12 October 2016

Source: The Nation