The long road to abolishing the death penalty in South East Asia: A call for renewed action and dialogue

Opinion: Despite the formidable challenges in South East Asia, the fight against capital punishment persists. As we mark the 21st World Day Against the Death Penalty, we reflect on the region’s mixed landscape: from Malaysia’s progressive debates to the staunch retentionist stance of others.

Harnessing local efforts and international cooperation can reshape the narrative on this crucial human rights issue.

Families speak out on World Day Against the Death Penalty

Family members of death row prisoners in Singapore are calling for a halt to all executions and an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

They have stated that since March 2022, the Singapore government has executed 16 individuals in what they describe as a “violent, senseless war on drugs.”

In a recent action, five families delivered a petition, signed by 1,721 people, to the Ministry of Home Affairs. They are urging K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law, to meet with them to listen to their stories and confront the impacts of the death penalty.

“My policies save more lives than they take away,” K Shanmugam defends capital punishment

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam asserts that capital punishment aligns with the state’s responsibility to maintain safety, security, and save lives in Singapore.

Since resuming executions in March 2022, Singapore has executed 16 individuals for drug trafficking. While the government upholds the death penalty as a deterrent, human rights groups advocate for more humane and evidence-driven approaches to combat drug-related crime.