New Asian anti-death penalty network formed after meeting in Hong Kong


(Hong Kong, 10 July 2006) A new Asian network against the death penalty was formed after a group of anti-death penalty activists met in Hong Kong recently to discuss work against the death penalty. This network is called the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADEPAN) and will be officially launched on the World Day Against Death Penalty, 10 October, somewhere in Asia this year.

Common challenges in Asia were identified during the meeting. These were: the lack of transparency in the enforcement of secrecy laws by governments; a lack of public awareness of issues surrounding the death penalty; the lack of using a “victim’s approach” by anti-death penalty campaigners; the lack of a consistent movement or strategy against the death penalty, for example, a need for internationalisation of the campaigns against it; and that the area of application of the death penalty is too wide, for example in drugs trafficking.

The regional consultative meeting against the death penalty was initiated by Amnesty International and held in Hong Kong from 7-9 July 2006. The three main objectives of the consultative meeting were to identify issues or themes on the death penalty relevant to the Asia Pacific region; to identify achievable campaigning activities; and to build a regional network against the death penalty.

The meeting was attended by participants from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Mongolia, Australia, France and England.

The group welcomed the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines and the participants from the Philippines shared their stories of campaigning against the death penalty.

ADEPAN also plans to join the World Coalition Against Death Penalty in its campaigns worldwide with the theme of “Death Penalty is Failure of Justice” this year. There might also be a “Cities for Life” campaign around the region where candles will be lit up with a logo of the network in the chosen cities.

The network will also create a working group on drugs to work more closely on abolishing the death penalty on drug offences. The World Coalition against the Death Penalty also invited the network to organise an Asian roundtable in Paris next year during the 3rd World Congress against the Death Penalty from 1-3 February 2007.