UN Human Rights Committee deplores Indonesia’s response to its call to stop executions for drug-related crimes

GENEVA (2 April 2015) – The UN Human Rights Committee has given Indonesia the lowest possible evaluation for its failure to respond to the Committee’s call in 2013 to stop executing prisoners for drug-related crimes.

After a regular review of Indonesia’s human rights record, the Committee in August 2013 urged the State to reinstate the de facto moratorium on the death penalty and to ensure that, if capital punishment was maintained, it was only for the most serious crimes, which do not include drug-related offences. The Committee also called on Indonesia to review its legislation so offences involving narcotics were not punishable by the death penalty.

In a follow-up evaluation of Indonesia this week, Committee members voiced concern at the recent executions in Indonesia and regretted that the State had not amended its legislation as requested. They awarded Indonesia a rare E grade on the scale of A to E, where A is largely satisfactory and E indicates the measures taken go against the Committee’s recommendation.

Indonesia had argued that, given the severe impact and the challenges posed by drug-related crimes to the nation’s survival and its young generation, it considered such offences as among the most serious to which the death penalty may apply.

Article 6* of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a State Party, does allow for the death penalty in certain very restricted cases. The Committee has repeatedly stressed that drug-related offences are not such cases and that capital punishment for drug-related offences does not comply with article 6 of the Covenant.

The Human Rights Committee monitors implementation by States Parties of the ICCPR by means of regular review and, where applicable, a follow-up procedure to analyse a State’s response to the most pressing issues.

The Committee also urges all States to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty. In 2013, it called on Indonesia to do so. [ENDS]

For more information and media requests, please contact: Liz Throssell ethrossell@ohchr.org / 41 22 917 9466 / 41 79 752 0488 or Kate Fox kfox@ohchr.org/ 41 22 917 9398 or

Human Rights Committee:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CCPR/Pages/CCPRIndex.aspx

ICCPR: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/2ndOPCCPR.aspx

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*Article 6 of the ICCPR :

  1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
  2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court.
  3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this article shall authorize any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases.
  5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.
  6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant.

General Comment on article 6, on the right to life (16th session, 1982): http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT%2fCCPR%2fGEC%2f6630&Lang=en

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