For information only - not an official document

  27 June 2019

Statement attributable to the UNODC spokesperson on the use of the death penalty

VIENNA, 27 June (UN Information Service) - In response to enquiries regarding reports from Sri Lanka on the application of the death penalty for four individuals convicted of drug-related offences, the following statement was issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:

As part of the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) does not support the use of the death penalty.

Just last December, more countries than ever before - 121 Member States - supported a General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

The three international drug control conventions, which form the foundation of the global drug control system that has been agreed by nearly every country in the world, cannot be used to justify the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences alone.

Application of the death penalty may also impede international cooperation to fight drug trafficking, as there are national laws that do not allow the exchange of information and extradition with countries which may impose capital punishment for the offences concerned.

The dangers posed by illicitly-trafficked drugs are evident and lives are at stake. But use of the death penalty cannot provide durable solutions or protect people.

UNODC urges all Member States to adhere to their commitments to promote balanced, human rights-based approaches to drug control, and we stand ready to engage with all countries to bring criminals to justice with the appropriate legal safeguards, in line with international standards and norms, and to promote evidence-based prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration.

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For further information please contact:

Sonya Yee
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
Email: sonya.yee[at]