Public Statement on the World Day against the Death Penalty 2022

10 October 2022

Amnesty International Thailand

10 October marks the World Day against the Death Penalty which has been declared to raise the awareness about death penalty and how it violates basic human rights. The World Day against the Death Penalty was adopted by various organizations which attended a meeting in Rome, Italy in 2000. They have decided to declare 10 October every year as a day of global action to demand an end of death penalty, to raise the awareness of the negative impact of such punishment and to call on countries around the world to sign the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) aiming at the abolition of death penalty. Although Thailand is a signatory of ICCPR since 29 October 1996 and which became effective since 29 January 1997, it has yet to sign the Optional Protocol.


On the occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty, the Coalition Against the Death Penalty consisted of the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, the Peace and Culture Foundation, the Union for Civil Liberties (UCL), the Amnesty International Thailand and the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) are categorically opposed to all forms of killing and deprivation of human life including death penalty since it is a violation of basic human right including the right to life. An execution is a cruel and heinous treatment and one of the most inhuman treatments. It affects the criminal justice process since there is a possibility of wrongful judgment. There is no system which can absolutely guarantees a flawless, consistent and fair judgment. An execution is, therefore, an irrevocable act even though further investigation may establish the innocence of the person executed. Most of the executed prisoners lived in poverty and were marginalized. They could not afford to hire an able and knowledgeable lawyer for their defense. An execution can neither prevent the commission of violent crime nor make society safer. It can only impact society negatively. 


That the state sanctions an execution of a person attests to how they are supportive to the use of force and the perpetuation of the cycle of violence even though such punishment proves to be of no effective use to preempt the crime. Despite that, reasons have been raised to justify the use of death penalty including to ensure law enforcement and maintenance of public order, to restore justice for the victims, etc. Nevertheless, although a number of countries retain death penalty, but they refrain from executing it. Instead, they choose to suspend the execution of death penalty in practice and prefer to use life imprisonment in its stead. 


In addition, capital punishment can cause emotional havoc in society. It is capable of escalating violent feeling in society and remains so perpetually, particularly during the emergence of a heinous crime or an act of terrorism. This can incur anger, the feeling of vengeance, and panic so much so that people lose their conscience and may not recognize the value of humanity. If a judgment is wrongly made, there is no way to restore the life of the person executed. It also stifles the opportunity to ensure the perpetrator can repent over their action and toward their responsibility for the victim and society. 


Therefore, the Coalition Against the Death Penalty in Thailand deem that capital punishment has no place in Thai society. We put forward the demands to all sectors in society and propose these following recommendations to gradually end death penalty; 


1. Officially declare a moratorium on the use of death penalty and ratify the Second Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with a view of eradicating death penalty eventually

2. Reform the criminal law to eradicate mandatory death penalty by also prescribing life imprisonment in parallel to death penalty 

3. For any newly promulgated law, the maximum punishment should be capped with life imprisonment.

4. Ensure strict compliance with internationally recognized standards concerning the right to fair trial and any trial on offences punishable by death penalty


10 October 2022

Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)