Sunday, January 22, 2017

Death row inmate S. Prabagaran want Malaysia to take Singapore to the International Court of Justice(ICJ).


Monday, 16 January 2017 | MYT 3:14 PM

Mum and Singapore death row son want ICJ to look into case


KUALA LUMPUR: In an unprecedented case, death row inmate S. Prabagaran and his mother are making a judicial review application to direct the Malaysian Government to start proceedings against Singapore in the International Court of Justice over his conviction for drug trafficking.

His lead counsel N. Surendran said the application for leave was filed at the High Court registry here Monday to stop Prabagaran's execution after he was convicted for drug trafficking.

He said they filed the case in Malaysia because Prabagaran had exhausted all appeals in Singapore.

"There is no other way to save Prabagaran's life. The main grounds (cited in the application) is that fair trial was denied in Singapore," Surendran told reporters.

He said they are asking the Malaysian Government to step in as "every person has the right to a fair trial, which is guaranteed under customary international law".

Asked by the media, Surendran said the application does not mean that they are interfering in Singapore's internal matters but merely seeking justice.

In the application for leave, Prabagaran and his mother V. Eswary named the Foreign Ministry and the Malaysian Government as respondents.

Among others, they want a declaration that the respondents are legally obliged to protect and give effect to Prabagaran's right to a fair trial, life and liberty.

Eswary cried uncontrollably after the filing of the court papers.

"He is innocent and I just want his release," she said in between her sobs.

In her affidavit in support, Eswary said her son was convicted in the Singapore High Court on July 22, 2014 for trafficking in 22.24gm of diamorphine.

She said Prabagaran was sentenced to death on Sept 22, 2014 under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Eswary said her son's appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal was dismissed on Oct 2, 2015.

Prabagaran then applied to the Court of Appeal to re-open his appeal and set aside his sentence, but the motion was dismissed on Dec 2 last year.

She said that Malaysia, on its own and in exercising the protection of its nationals, is entitled to full reparation for the wrongs done.

She said that on Dec 21 last year she and members of the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian Government at its high commission in Singapore to refer her son's case to ICJ based on breach of fair trial but there has been no response until now. - Star, 15/1/2017

ADPAN urges Philippines NOT to bring back the Death Penalty

Philippine : Do not revive the Death Penalty

ADPAN strongly urges all members of the Philippine House of Representative and Senate to reject the reinstatement of the death penalty and uphold the rights to life as enshrined in the Constitution.

Reinstating the death penalty would violate Philippine’s international legal obligations, in particular, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country has ratified.

The reasons behind the reinstatement of the death penalty are ill founded and purely a political one. Numerous studies and analysis have concluded that death penalty does not deter crime. Indeed, there has been no existing reliable evidence to prove otherwise.

ADPAN also wishes to highlight that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has consistently called for the abolishment of death penalty on drug related offences, citing that such irreversible and oppressive laws are not an effective prevention and solution and it is not supported by international drug conventions.

It is also to be noted that on 11th January 2017, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Mr Wisanu Krea-ngarm had said that Thailand would eventually do away with death penalty by trying to amend the law to find alternative to the capital punishment, taking into consideration the global trend on abolition.

The Malaysian government has also announced its intention to abolish the mandatory death penalty on drug offences while a comprehensive study is now underway that may also see the total abolition of the death penalty.

Philippine, if successfully revive the death penalty, would not only move backward in its human rights standards and obligations, and would also not be in line with the progress made by its neighboring countries towards the eventual abolition of death penalty.

ADPAN states its disappointment that this Bill to reinstate the death penalty is being rushed on 16 January 2017 when the House of Representative resumes, and urges all members of the House of Representative and Senate to consider it carefully and reject it, respecting and upholding the right to life.

Ngeow Chow Ying
For and on behalf of the
ADPAN Executive Committee
15 January 2017



The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) is an independent cross-regional network committed to working for an end to the death penalty across the Asia Pacific region. ADPAN is made up of NGOs, organizations, civil society groups, lawyers and individual members, not linked to any political party, religion or government and campaigns against the death penalty. It currently has members in 28 countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam, UK, USA.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

MADPET Urges USA To Immediately Release 2 Malaysians Being Detained Without Trial For Over 10 Years In Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre



Media Statement – 16/1/2017

MADPET Urges USA To Immediately Release 2 Malaysians Being Detained Without Trial For Over 10 Years In Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is shocked to find out that 2 Malaysians have been subjected to detention without trial for allegedly over 10 years in the United States of America’s infamous detention facility in Guantanamo  Bay in Cuba.(FMT News,8/1/2017). Mohd Farik Amin and Mohammed Nazir Lep  have been allegedly detained for about 10 years and 4 months, for allegedly being involved in the 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 and injured 150 others.

Article 10 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that, "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.". Everyone have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

It must be pointed out that these 2 Malaysians were amongst the Guantanamo detainees who had been recommended for prosecution by the Guantánamo Review Task Force as of January 2010. But sadly, after almost 7 years, they have yet to be granted their fundamental right to a fair trial.

It is said that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is controlled by the US military, but not actually part of the country and therefore not subject to US laws. There have been allegations of torture, and also deaths in custody at this detention facility. President Obama, when he became President promised that he will close down this facility, but alas it still remains open.

MADPET is of the opinion that all persons currently detained without trial should be immediately and unconditionally released. It is unconscionable and unjust for persons to be detained without trial, and in the case of these 2  Malaysians, it has been more than 10 years.

Malaysia should have been protesting the detention without trial of any Malaysian, who have been denied their right to fair trial. The failure to come to the aid and assistance is a failure on the part of the government.

Malaysia should certainly not support the justification forwarded by foreign nations to detain without trial, and/or to torture Malaysians. As such, it is most sad that the Malaysian police seems to be now justifying the 10 year plus detention without trial of Malaysians by the US.

MADPET is also disturbed by statements allegedly made by Malaysian police counter-terrorism chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, which maybe an attempt to convince the Malaysian public the reason for the detention without trial, and maybe also the failure of the Malaysian government to come to the assistance of these Malaysians overseas – victims of denial of right to a fair trial.

Amongst others, Ayob Khan was quoted saying, ““They are high-ranking members with a great deal of influence. There is a high possibility they might return to their militant ways and join other groups, especially the Islamic State,”.  It may be of interest to know whether the Malaysian police’s view is based on their own investigation, or simply an acceptance of what the US detaining authority told them. Are there even attempts by the Indonesian government to get these 2 Malaysians to be charged and tried in Indonesian courts for their alleged crimes related to the bombing in Jakarta?

The police officer’s, public prosecutor’s and/or the government’s belief in the guilt or innocence is irrelevant because no one is guilty unless tried and convicted after a fair trial.

If they have broken laws in Malaysia, then they must forthwith be brought back, charged in court and tried. If they have not broken any Malaysian laws, then, of course, Malaysia will have no justification to arrest or detain them on return to Malaysia. Continued detention without trial in Malaysia is not acceptable.

The said media report indicated that  ‘…Ayob said that if the two were transferred back to Malaysia, they would be placed in the de-radicalisation programme, which has been proven to be effective…’. There also was a similar suggestion made earlier ‘…last September, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Nazir might be transferred to Malaysia but he would have to continue the de-radicalisation programme in jail…’

MADPET is extremely concerned about what is meant by this ‘de-radicalisation programme in jail’, and hope that Malaysia is not proposing detention under trial under POCA(Prevention of Crime Act), POTA(Prevention of Terrorism Act) or some other Detention Without Trial law.

This is unacceptable and MADPET reiterates that Malaysia must abolish all detention without trial laws, and immediately release all those currently being detained and/or being subjected to restrictions by virtue of these draconian POCA and/or POTA.

Therefore, MADPET

Calls on the United States of America(USA) to immediately release Mohd Farik Amin, Mohammed Nazir Lep,any other Malaysians and others currently being detained without trial in Guantanamo Bay Detention facility and other detention facilities in or under the control of the USA.

Call on the Malaysian government to do the needful to ensure that human rights of Malaysians, including the right to fair trial, of those currently being held in Guantanamo Bay Detention facility and detention facilities overseas are always respected and protected;

Reiterate our call on Malaysia to immediately repeal the Prevention Of Crime Act 1959(POCA), Prevention Of Terrorism Act 2015(POTA)    any such Detention Without Trial laws; and

Reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all persons currently being detained/restricted under Prevention Of Crime Act 1959(POCA) or any such Detention Without Trial laws.

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

*****

Will Obama send Malaysia terror accused home?

FMT Reporters
 | January 8, 2017 
Malaysia doesn't recognise the US court's authority on them and the Americans have their concerns with the law here so it'll be difficult, say sources.

camp-delta 

PETALING JAYA: Two Malaysian militants held in Guantanamo Bay, the United States’ infamous military prison in Cuba, are unlikely to be among the 22 detainees transferred back to their home or other countries, reported a local portal.

According to The Star Online, intelligence sources said the “long and difficult” transfer process meant it was unlikely that Mohd Farik Amin aka Yazid Zubair, and Mohammed Nazir Lep aka Bashir Lap, would be sent to Malaysia.

Farik and Nazir reportedly had a role to play in the 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 and injured 150 others.

Before this, Daily Mail reported that outgoing US President Barrack Obama was planning to transfer 22 detainees before Jan 20, the date Donald Trump will be sworn in.

The targets for release were reportedly those who have been detained for more than 10 years — and both Farik and Nazir have been there for 10 years and four months.

But intelligence sources The Star Online spoke to ruled out the two being transferred back to Malaysia.

“It is a long and difficult process. Both countries must agree on the method of transfer and a suitable location, as well as duration to hold these prisoners in Malaysia,” the source told The Star.

It is understood that the US government was seeking to charge and sentence Farik and Nazir in a US military court but have the remainder of that prison term served in Malaysia.

Another source said the problem with this was that Malaysia didn’t recognise the military court’s authority and that the US didn’t agree with the Prevention of Crime Act, which Malaysia may use to detain the two.

Malaysian police counter-terrorism chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said Farik and Nazir posed a high level of danger, given their involvement in international militant organisations, al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.

He said Farik was an explosives expert, while Nazir specialised in hijacking American interests in the region.

“They are high-ranking members with a great deal of influence. There is a high possibility they might return to their militant ways and join other groups, especially the Islamic State,” said Ayob, who is Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head.

In recent times, a number of Malaysians have left the country to join Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with some even becoming suicide bombers.

Authorities in Malaysia have voiced concerns about returning militants attempting such activities here.
Ayob said that if the two were transferred back to Malaysia, they would be placed in the de-radicalisation programme, which has been proven to be effective.

Last September, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Nazir might be transferred to Malaysia but he would have to continue the de-radicalisation programme in jail. - FMT News, 8/1/2017

****


Citizens of Malaysia

Two citizens of Malaysia have been held at Guantánamo. The detainees include Zubair (Mohd Farik Bin Amin) and Lillie (Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep).
NameCitizenshipStatus2010 Task Force Determination
Lillie (Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep) Malaysia Held Recommended for prosecution
Zubair (Mohd Farik Bin Amin) Malaysia Held Recommended for prosecution
Source:-

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

OIC - 24 voted in favour, 13 abstained and 18 objected UNGA Moratorium Resolution?

The resolution adopted on Dec 19, 2016 was backed by 117 states, while 40 voted against it and 31 abstained.
24 of the OIC’s 57 member states voted in favour of the moratorium, while 13 abstained and only 18 voted against. The Muslim states that voted against were: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those who abstained included: Bahrain, Came­roon, Comoros, Djibouti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and the UAE.

The love of hanging

 
PAKISTAN chose to vote against the recent resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that had called for a global moratorium on the death penalty and was adopted by a majority of member-states.

The gist of this resolution has been adopted by the UN General Assembly every two years since 2007. 

The resolution adopted on Dec 19, 2016 was backed by 117 states, while 40 voted against it and 31 abstained. As against the voting pattern in 2014, the new supporters of the moratorium call were Guinea, Malawi, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Swaziland.

South Asia maintained its fondness for the death penalty as Pakistan joined Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Maldives in rejecting a universal moratorium, while Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka voted in favour.

Pakistani authorities have an aversion to any scrutiny of the rationale for retaining the death penalty.


Those who defend the death penalty as a principle enjoined by Islam may look at the division among the Muslim states (the category includes all members of the OIC).

Those voting in favour of a moratorium included: Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kazakh­stan, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Suriname, Togo, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Those who abstained included: Bahrain, Came­roon, Comoros, Djibouti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and the UAE.

The Muslim states that voted against were: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
We find that 24 of the OIC’s 57 member states voted in favour of the moratorium, while 13 abstained and only 18 voted against. In other words, Pakistan is in the minority group of 18 OIC member-countries that opposes the moratorium.

It is for Pakistan’s government and its Islamic scholars to ponder as to why a majority of the OIC members do not find any faith-based bar to the acceptance of a moratorium on capital punishment. They may also consider the possibility that, as in the case of some international treaties, reservations expressed in the name of religion are in fact dictated by the culture or custom of the countries concerned.

What is more distressing for human rights activists, abolitionist groups and promoters of humanitarian laws in Pakistan is the authorities’ aversion to any scrutiny of the rationale for their love of the death penalty regime.

What one hears of references to the death penalty during the Universal Periodic Review or at talks with the European Union on the GSP+ status is not the result of any serious deliberation. Indeed, one doubts if any discussion on the subject has ever taken place in Pakistan. That there is an urgent need for such a discussion can easily be established.

The recent cases in which the Supreme Court acquitted two individuals who had already been executed, or ordered the release of persons who had spent long years on death row, have strengthened the call for abolition of the death penalty on the ground of high risk of miscarriage of justice. A number of other issues that have surfaced over the past many years also need to be addressed. These are:

• The view that the death sentence is not a deterrent to crime has not been challenged nor has the view that hangings brutalise society.

• The Qisas law has prevented the president from pardoning death convicts or commuting their sentence although his power to do so under Article 45 of the Constitution remains intact. How does one explain the fact that the army chief can pardon a person awarded the death sentence by a military court while the president cannot do so?

• The scholars agree that Islam prescribes the death penalty in only two instances. How does the state defend the fact that capital punishment is prescribed for 27 offences in the name of religion?

• The judiciary has pointed out the problems it faces in cases in which capital punishment is mandatory if the evidence on record warrants a lesser penalty.

• The possibility of a minor or a mentally challenged person being executed keeps cropping up every now and then.

One ventures to suggest a look at the Indian response to the issue of the death penalty in view of the shared legal tradition.

The Law Commission of India recommended in August 2015, vide its Report No. 262, that “the death penalty be abolished for all crimes other than terrorism-related offences and waging war”. The commission agreed to retain capital punishment for certain offences in view of the parliamentarians’ plea that “abolition of death penalty for terrorism-related offences and waging war will affect national security”, although in the commission’s view “there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes.”

The commission noted the significant steps taken during India’s decades-long efforts to restrict the use of the death penalty: removal of the requirement of giving special reasons for awarding life imprisonment instead of death (1955); introduction of the requirement of imposing the death penalty (1973); and the Supreme Court’s decision that the death penalty should be restricted to the rarest of rare cases (1980). The conclusion reached by the commission was:

“Informed also by the expanded and deepened contents and horizons of the right to life and strengthened due process requirements in the interactions between the state and the individual, prevailing standards of constitutional morality and human dignity, the commission feels that time has come for India to move towards abolition of the death penalty.”

During the latest debate in the UN General Assembly, however, India again voted against the resolution calling for a moratorium although it could have shown some respect for the Law Commission’s recommendation by abstaining. Which only goes to show that, in developing countries, state policies are often determined by authorities that are too timid to disturb the status quo or too proud of their conservatism to heed the counsel of experts who are conscious of the call of the age.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Malaysia votes 'NO' - UNGA Resolution on Moratorium On The Use of The Death Penalty(19/12/2016)



Malaysia, disappointingly, voted against the Death Penalty resolution - odd as Malaysia is in the process of finalizing its study on the abolition of the death penalty...Logically, Malaysia should have abstained rather than objected...


UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY(UNGA) MORATORIUM ON THE USE OF THE DEATH PENALTY RESOLUTION..19/12/2016

[117 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the proposal. Only 40 states voted against it and 31 abstained at the vote]

Below the Draft Test of the Resolution(for the final text, visit UN Website) 

The General Assembly, 


Guided by the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, 


Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,


Recalling the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and in this regard welcoming the increasing number of accessions to and ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol, 


Reaffirming its resolutions 62/149 of 18 December 2007, 63/168 of 18 December 2008, 65/206 of 21 December 2010, 67/176 of 20 December 2012 and 69/186 of 18 December 2014 on the question of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, in which the General Assembly called upon States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing it, 


Welcoming all relevant decisions and resolutions of the Human Rights Council, 


Mindful that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable, 


Convinced that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights, and considering that there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty, 


Noting ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty, as well as the readiness of an increasing number of Member States to make available to the public information on the use of the death penalty, and also, in this regard, the decision by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 26/2 of 26 June 20145 to convene biennial high-level panel discussions in order to further exchange views on the question of the death penalty, 


Recognizing the role of national human rights institutions in contributing to ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty, 


Welcoming the considerable movement towards the abolition of the death penalty globally and the fact that many States are applying a moratorium, including long-standing moratoriums, either in law or in practice, on the use of the death penalty, 


Emphasizing the need to ensure that persons facing the death penalty are treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity and in compliance with their rights under international human rights law, 

Noting the technical cooperation among Member States, as well as the role of relevant United Nations entities and human rights mechanisms, in supporting State efforts to establish moratoriums on the death 
penalty,


Bearing in mind the work of special procedures mandate holders who have addressed human rights issues related to the death penalty within the framework of their respective mandates,


1. Reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, including determining appropriate legal penalties, in accordance with their international law obligations;


2. Expresses its deep concern about the continued application of the death penalty;


3. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 69/186 and the recommendations contained therein;


4. Also welcomes the steps taken by some States to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed, as well as steps taken to limit its application;


5. Further welcomes initiatives and political leadership encouraging national discussions and debates on the possibility of moving away from capital punishment through domestic decision-making;


6. Welcomes the decisions made by an increasing number of States from all regions, at all levels of government, to apply a moratorium on executions, followed in many cases by the abolition of the death penalty;


7. Calls upon all States:


(a) To respect international standards that provide safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, in particular the minimum standards, as set out in the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50 of 25 May 1984, as well as to provide the Secretary-General with information in this regard;


(b) To comply with their obligations under article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, particularly the right to receive information on consular assistance;


(c) To make available relevant information, disaggregated by sex, age, and race, as applicable, and other applicable criteria, with regard to their use of the death penalty, inter alia, the number of persons sentenced to death, the number of persons on death row and the number of executions carried out, the number of death sentences reversed or commuted on appeal and information on any scheduled execution, which can contribute to possible informed and transparent national and international debates, including on the obligations of States pertaining to the use of the death penalty;


(d) To progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and not to impose capital punishment for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age, on pregnant women or on persons with mental or intellectual disabilities;


(e) To reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed;


(f) To ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation of their death sentence by ensuring that clemency procedures are fair and transparent and that prompt information is provided at all stages of the process;


(g) To establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;


8. Calls upon States which have abolished the death penalty not to reintroduce it, and encourages them to share their experience in this regard;


9. Encourages States which have a moratorium to maintain it and to share their experience in this regard;


10. Calls upon States that have not yet done so to consider acceding to or ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;


11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session on the implementation of the present resolution;


12. Decides to continue consideration of the matter at its seventy-third session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.





Some observations of a friend as follows:-

The plenary session of the UN General Assembly adopted yesterday its sixth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with 117 votes in favour, 40 against and 31 abstentions.

The text of the resolution includes some positive new additions compared to 2014, including:

-a reference to the role of national human rights institutions in contributing to ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty;
-a request to make available relevant information on any scheduled execution, in addition to other information already listed in previous resolutions;
-a call on states that still retain the death penalty “To ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation of their death sentence by ensuring that clemency procedures are fair and transparent and that prompt information is provided at all stages of the process;”

Unfortunately the opponents of the resolution managed this year to include in the resolution a new paragraph that recalls their sovereign right to determine their legal systems, as follows:

“1. Reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, including determining appropriate legal penalties, in accordance with their international law obligations;”

While the number of the votes in favour remained the same as in 2014, there have been some interesting changes in the voting, both positively and negatively:

Positive changes:
-Guinea, Malawi, Namibia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka moved from abstention to vote in favour;
-Zimbabwe moved from vote against to abstention;
- Swaziland also moved from not present to vote in favour (but voted against the resolution in previous years).
-Lesotho moved from not present to abstention (but abstained in previous resolutions, so did not mention this in our AI statement); Nauru moved from not present to vote in favour (but supported the resolutions in previous years, so we did not mention this in our statement).

Negative changes:
-Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Philippines, Seychelles moved from vote in favour to abstention;
-Maldives moved from abstention to vote against;
-Burundi and South Sudan moved from vote in favour to vote against.
Several states also did not vote yesterday, for whatever reason, contributing to the final results:
-DRC, Gambia, Senegal went from abstention to not present;
-Rwanda  went from vote in favour to not present.

This leaves us with a somewhat bittersweet result: on one hand, the number of votes in favour has not become higher compared to 2014; on the other hand, some of the positive changes might signal the beginning of new journeys towards abolition.

2016 has been a very challenging year all around, including for the death penalty-some of the negative vote changes were somewhat expected, some perhaps speak to greater human rights challenges.

Thank you nonetheless for your continued work to get us all here-look forward to more work together in the new year.
Amnesty International’s public statement on yesterday’s vote can be found below and at this link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/act50/5389/2016/en/