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150 Organizations Condemn Trump's Call for Drugs Death Penalty, While Reformers Rally

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #1026)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy


CONTACT: David Borden, Executive Director,, [email protected]

More Than 150 Organizations Condemn President Trump's Call to Execute People for Nonviolent Drug Offenses

UN to Release Annual "World Drug Report" While Reformers Rally Worldwide

Groups Accuse Singapore of Using False Drug Use Data to Justify Death Penalty

China is doing less of this, but Trump wants more. (Amnesty International)
A growing coalition with over 150 organizations as of this writing (140 when release was first done) has condemned President Trump's call to institute the death penalty for drug offenses. A copy of the statement, which was organized by the US-based NGO, is online here.

The statement was submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, to be considered for inclusion in a report on the death penalty being presented to the General Assembly next fall. David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.organd the statement's author, explained, "We decided to release the statement at this time because of the immigrant family separations and the US's withdrawal from the Human Rights Council, as another example of President Trump's assault on human rights."

The statement also coincides with the June 26 release of the annual UN World Drug Report, and with the annual Support Don't PunishGlobal Day of Action for health- and human rights-based approaches to drug policy.

Among the statement's signatories are the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Latino Commission on AIDS, the William C. Velasquez Institute, Death Penalty Focus, the National Association of Social Workers, and Housing Works.

The US has never brought a death penalty case for a drug offense, but following the president's call for executions last spring, Attorney General Sessions sent a memo to prosecutors urging them to consider seeking the death penalty in some cases.

The statement argues, with references, that the president's claims of success for drug death penalty approaches in other countries is "premised on falsehoods." It notes that the world's leading executors for drug offenses, China and Iran, have scaled back their use of executions for drug offenses; and accuses Singapore's government of using "faked data" to justify their drugs death penalty.

The statement also makes note of President Trump's suggestion that police officers should bash suspects' heads on car door frames when arresting them, made during a police officers' convention in July 2017; and his repeated calls for violence against protesters at his rallies during the presidential campaign, recorded on video on seven different occasions.

The statement also notes Trump's praise for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal campaign of extrajudicial drug war killings, which Duterte administration figures suggest has claimed 20,000 lives to date. The statement has strong representation in the Philippines as well as the Filipino American community, with more than ten endorsing organizations including the iDEFEND human rights coalition, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service Foundation, and the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA).

The statement calls on Congress to repeal the US's never-used drugs death penalty statutes; to enact bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that is pending in Congress; and to pass legislation sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to impose human rights conditions on some aid to the Philippines while funding public health work and human rights advocacy.

Borden said, "We are committed to recognizing if and when the Trump administration takes good steps in drug policy or criminal justice. Recently the president released Alice Johnson, a 63-year old grandmother who had been imprisoned since 1996 on a drug offense, and he suggested there could be many more pardons. He has offered tentative support for legislation to give formal federal permission to states enacting marijuana legalization, though Republican leadership has blocked the bill from moving. We hope the president follows through on both these promises. In the meanwhile, however, the overall Trump administration record in the drug war is a horrific one."

The full text of the statement and signatory list is online at:

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Silver Damsen (not verified)

Yes, as an absolute must, the possibility that someone could be executed for possession or supposed sale of drugs needs to be removed as a possibility.  
As Borden points out, promoting this kind of punishment is what Dictators who violate human rights do.  For a Unites States President to support and encourage what the rest of the world considers violations of basic human rights is terrifying.
But more than just the possibility of execution Prohibition itself needs to end. Prohibition even in milder forms, as in just years and years in prison and a criminal record that hurts one's employment and even education opportunities, doesn't discourage drug use/abuse/overuse.
What Prohibition is best at is increasing fear and anger in communities, making drug lords and criminal syndicates, and increasing the likelihood of health problems from unregulated drugs.
Thus, it isn't just that we need to remove execution as a possible government punishment for drug use, but all Prohibition.  Countries like Portugal that Decriminalized drugs show a decrease in crime and overdose death as well as even seeming issues of overuse.abuse.
The United States needs to accept that it cannot stop its citizens from using drugs it wants to use. Thus, it needs to create a safer environment for everyone for this use to take place.  With the Philippines as a model, executing supposed drug users doesn't increase social order.  Any society that is having problems with religious leaders who speak out against the government seemingly executed by those working with unstated government support, is a society that no sane individual would want to live in.
However, if the most powerful country in the world becomes a violating of basic human rights that functions like a dictatorship, it isn't just a tragedy for the people of the United States but for the whole world.  Decriminalization of drug use will even probably lead to less over/abuse issues even beyond the obvious reduction in OD death and health problems like HIV and HepC, but the main reason to Decriminalize is that Prohibition creates nothing but death, suffering, and crime.
Fri, 06/29/2018 - 3:04pm Permalink
Ashwin Thapa (not verified)

Its Previlege to be the Part of the Movement to stop War on Drugs,and i am quite greatful that i can Contribute in any way to Support the Movement  to End War on Drugs,and I express my Gratitude on the behalf of PUD from Nepal to End War On Drugs and the Repected Sir David,,

 Thanks Sir David for the Every Contribution that You had done and are doing for Welfare for PUD..


Sat, 06/30/2018 - 5:42am Permalink
Ashwin Thapa (not verified)

Hi This is Ashwin from Ktm ,Nepal and its Previlege of mine that ican Contribute in any way to stop War on Drugs,and I am quite greatful towards sir David  for the contribution for the Welfare of PUD from the Planet,and i highly appreciate the movement that Sir David had started to End War on Drugs.

 On the behalf of PUD from Nepal i humbly Express my Gratitude to Sir David for the movement that he had started since long time to End War on Drugs.

Last but not Least thanks for Every contribution your Every Action that You had done and are doing for welfare of People who use Drugs.

Sat, 06/30/2018 - 5:52am Permalink

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