Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our tenth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law.
The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2020 found
- There were 30 confirmed executions for drug offences in 2020, down from 116 in 2019. All of the executions took place in 3 countries (China, Iran and Saudi Arabia)
- At least 213 people received a death sentence for drug offences in 2020, up from 183 in 2019.
- Thirty-five countries still retain the death penalty for drug offences.
- There are at least 3,000 people currently on death row for drug offences worldwide.
- Vietnam alone accounted for over a third of all confirmed death sentences for drug offences in 2020.
- As of October 2020, there were 355 people on death row in Indonesia, of which 214 were convicted for drug offences (a 29% increase from 2019).
- Singapore did not carry executions for the first time since 2013.
- Data on the death penalty for drug offences is grossly insufficient, partly due to a lack of information on executions in China and Vietnam (both are reported to routinely execute people for drug offences).