In June 2020, The Rights Practice signed a joint statement calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty during the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement was also signed by 40 other non-governmental organisations, all members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and submitted to the United Nations (UN), Human Rights Council’s 44th session. 

Covid-19 makes fair legal representation impossible, it also makes access to prison and access to justice impossible. The current global health crisis has demonstrated how profoundly unfair the system has been on people already weakened by their heavy sentence. A lack of visits to people on death row and the inability for lawyers and judges to work normally are all unfair consequences of an ill-equipped system. By comparison, those countries that have had the courage during this time to take a step, big or small, towards abolition shows that our world is made better without this punishment, which should have been long consigned to the history books. 

Covid-19: Calling For A Worldwide Moratorium On The Death Penalty When States Are Trying Hard To Save Lives And When Fair Legal Representation Is Impossible

June 2020

The World Coalition against the Death Penalty and supporting member organizations welcome the Report by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Covid-19 makes fair legal representation impossible

On 5 May 2020, following a trial in the Ikeja Court in Lagos, Nigeria, a man was sentenced to death for a murder committed in December 2018. The trial lasted only three hours and the sentence was handed down by videoconference via the Zoom app. 10 days later, using the same app, a Singaporean judge remotely sentenced a man to death by hanging for drug trafficking. Since last November, the whole world has been living through a situation that is exceptional and has revealed to what extent public health is a major imperative. And while the situation has justified emergency measures, infringements on individual freedoms, and a freeze on most economic activities, the archaic, cruel and degrading practice of capital punishment is still being used... 

See full statement: Covid-19: Calling For A Worldwide Moratorium On The Death Penalty