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ACHR Press Release
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ACHR Index: PR/PHL/01/11/03
27 November 2003

President Macapagal urged not to lift moratorium on death penalty

The New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) urged the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo not to lift the moratorium on death penalty. "There is no empirical evidence that death penalty acts as a deterrent against crimes." - stated Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The lifting of moratorium on death penalty would be a slap on the face of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which urged Philippines on 11 November 2003 "to take measures to repeal all laws, which have made it possible to impose the death penalty and to accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights". Philippines has also been urged to ensure compliance with article 6(5) of the Covenant prohibiting the imposition of the death sentence for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age."

The Republic Act 7659, commonly known as the Death Penalty Act, applies in a wide range of crimes, including rape, murder, kidnapping, drugs offences, treason, piracy and bribery. Since executions resumed in 1999 after a period of 23 years, seven people were executed by lethal injection between 1999 and 2000. President Joseph Estrada announced a suspension of executions to mark the Christian Jubilee Year in 2000. However, death penalty in Philippines extends to an excessive number of offences which do not fit the definition of the "most serious" crimes within the meaning of article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Death penalty hangs over 175 convicts, including 12 minors.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Philippines government to take effective measures to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.[END]


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