16 Sep 2016
My statement refers to the report of the Secretary-General on the Question of the Death Penalty (A/HRC/33/20).
No civilised society can glorify the taking of human life.
But the question is, whether in very limited circumstances, it is legitimate to have capital punishment so that the larger interests of society are served.
Ensuring our citizens’ fundamental human right to safety and security is of paramount importance to us.
We are also situated in a region with major drug trafficking centres and burgeoning drug production and consumption.
We therefore use capital punishment to deter what we consider to be the most serious crimes, in terms of their impact on the immediate and third party victims, as well as society at large, and this includes crimes like drug trafficking and murder.
Our system succeeds in protecting lives. Singapore has one of the lowest homicide rates in world, and we have kept our drug abuse rates under control while drug users globally have increased significantly in the last 10 years.
But we also constantly review our laws to adapt to our needs. In 2012, we adjusted our capital punishment regime by making the mandatory death penalty discretionary in very specific situations.
This ensures the continued effectiveness of our criminal justice system, while meeting the need for fairness and justice in each case.