50th Session of the Human Rights Council: joint oral statement on the right to life

Date: 22 June 2022

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ITEM 3: Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

UN Human Rights Council

50th session, 22 June 2022

 Mister President,

I speak on behalf of 15 organisations. We welcome the ongoing attention by this Mandate on states’ obligations to protect against arbitrary deprivation of life; and encourage the Rapporteur to monitor and investigate violations of the right to life in the context of drug policy.

Multiple civil society organizations have documented thousands of suspected extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the context of punitive policies and repressive, militarised anti-drug campaigns, which disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities, while perpetrators often enjoy impunity. The majority of victims are men; women are uniquely affected because of their gender-based roles. We highlight the case of the Philippines, where there remains almost no accountability for extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs”, which the incoming administration has yet to acknowledge. We also raise concerns about impunity in Mexico, Brazil, USA and Bangladesh, to name a few.

We regret that the death penalty remains a possible punishment for drug offences in 35 countries, with over 4,000 people executed for non-violent drug offences globally in the last decade. We recorded a 336% increase in known executions between 2020 and 2021, with transparency remaining a key challenge.

In light of this, we urge member states to uphold the obligation to protect the right to life when it comes to people who use drugs or are involved in the drug market, and their families. We ask the Rapporteur to investigate the systems and patterns of violations committed in the context of ‘drug wars’, to produce and disseminate a report that can inform a human rights-based approach to drugs. Our organisations stand ready to support the Rapporteur in fulfilling his mandate.

Thank you.


-         Amnesty International

-         Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)

-         Capital Punishment Justice Project, Monash University

-         Coalition Against the Death Penalty (Philippines)

-         Eleos Justice, Monash University

-         Franciscans International

-         Fastenaktion

-         Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

-         In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend)

-         Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission – Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines (JPICC-CMSP)

-         ODHIKAR

-         Order of Friars Minor – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office Philippines (OFMJPIC Philippines)

-         Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

-         Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

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