Democracy School -
PRESS STATEMENT #02/2013
for immediate release
15 March 2013
Global children’s rights organization strongly condemns execution of juveniles
Defence for Children International (DCI) strongly condemns the execution by firing squad on 13 March 2013 of seven young men in Saudi Arabia, and the execution of a young man in Yemen on 9 March 2013, for crimes committed as juveniles. DCI would like to express its deep regret that repeated calls and lobbying efforts by international and local civil society organizations, and the United Nations, not to carry out the death sentences were disregarded.
Defence for Children International –Yemen (DCI-Yemen/Democracy School) and the Children’s Parliament have informed DCI that presently there are twenty (20) juveniles who have been sentenced to the death penalty in Yemen.
“We regret the execution of the juvenile Mohammed Abdulkarim Haza'a and ask international and local organizations in Yemen to unify the efforts to save 20 more juveniles who might be executed at any time,” said Jamal Abdullah Al-Shami, President of DCI-Yemen.
DCI would like to reiterate that regardless of alleged individuals age at the time of the crime, trial or sentencing or of the execution of the sentence, article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that "States Parties shall ensure that: a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age…"
Both Yemen and Saudi Arabia have ratified this Convention, and the right to life and other relevant human rights as enshrined in the CRC should be respected, protected and fulfilled by the States. Guided by these fundamental human rights principles, DCI urgently appeals to the Saudi and Yemeni governments to stop the executions of juvenile offenders and to take all necessary measures to immediately suspend all pending executions imposed on persons for crimes committed before reaching the age of 18.
Furthermore, DCI urges Saudi Arabian and Yemeni authorities to honour their commitments and obligations under international treaties and standards to protect all children most at risk, and to respect and ensure the human rights of these children as per international obligations.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen are two of only four countries known to have executed individuals in the last five years for crimes committed as children. DCI opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently irreversible and inhumane punishment. The abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights.
DCI calls upon States to completely prohibit the death penalty within their national legislation, especially when sentencing children where alternatives to detention must be of primary consideration (article 40, CRC).
About Defence for Children International (DCI):
Defence for Children International (DCI) is an independent grassroots and rights based non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes and protects children’s rights on a global, regional, national and local level. DCI is one of the leading NGOs with regard to issues of juvenile justice with on the ground presence in five continents: 45 national sections and an International Secretariat (Geneva).
Defence for Children International – International Secretariat
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