19th World Day Against the Death Penalty- 10 October 2021

As we mark the 19th World Day Against the Death Penalty dedicated to women facing capital
punishment, who have been sentenced to death, who have been executed or who have been pardoned or
found not guilty, the members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and allies of women
sentenced to death take this opportunity to:

• Draw attention to the gender-based discrimination that confront women facing the death penalty during in the lead-up to the offense, investigation, trial, sentencing and appeal phases. Gender-
based discrimination can occur against women facing capital punishment and in many cases mitigating circumstances that might benefit women sentenced to death are not considered. For instance, this is particularly true in cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

• Emphasize that gender-based discrimination does not operate in isolation but combines with
other forms of discrimination, including those based on age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual
orientation, gender identity, economic status, disability amongst others, that expose women on
death row to multiple and intersecting forms of inequality.

• Note that there are gaps in the information available on the number and status of women who
have been sentenced to death, executed, had their death sentences commuted or pardoned, due
to a lack of accurate and disaggregated figures in many countries.

• Recall that in many countries conditions of detention threaten the physical, and psychological
integrity and even the lives of all prisoners, and that women on death row face unique challenges
due to their specific needs, such as lack of gender-sensitive medical care and hygiene products,
and threats of gender-based violence.

We recommend that governments in countries that have yet to abolish the death penalty/ still retain the
death penalty:

  1. Abolish the death penalty for all offences, regardless of gender;
  2. Pending full abolition, we call on governments to:
    a. Eliminate the death penalty for offenses that do not meet the threshold of “most serious
    crimes” under international law and standards;
    b. Repeal provisions that allow for the mandatory imposition of the death penalty, which
    does not allow judges to consider the circumstances of the offense for the defendant at
    c. Acknowledge the compounding forms of violence and discrimination experienced by
    girls and women – including gender-based violence, early and forced marriage; review
    laws, criminal procedures, and judicial practices and implement policies and legislative
    reforms to protect women from these abuses;
    d. Ensure that the criminal justice system takes full account of any mitigating factors
    linked to women’s backgrounds, including accounts of prior abuse, mental and
    intellectual disabilities;

e. Prevent the disproportionate prosecution and detention of women for “moral/sexual”
crimes, and consider decriminalizing these types of offenses;
f. Promote the training of all those involved in the investigation, representation and
prosecution of crimes involving women on gender-based discrimination and violence,
pathways to crime, and gender-sensitive mitigations;
g. Ensure that all those facing the death penalty have access to free and effective legal
counsel experienced in capital representation, and that are trained to recognize and bring
forward claims mitigating factors, including those linked to gender-based
h. Develop and implement programs to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination,
and promote women and girls’ human rights.

Signatory organizations:

  1. ACAT-France
  2. The Advocates for Human Rights
  3. Amnesty International
  4. Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network
  5. Asia Catalyst
  6. Association de Jeunes pour la Paix et
    la Démocratie
  7. Association française des femmes des
    Carrières Juridiques
  8. The Autonomous Women’s Center
  9. Avocats sans frontières France
  10. Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights
  11. Capital Punishment Justice Project
  12. Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan
  13. Centre d’Information et de
    Documentation sur les Droits de
    l’Enfants et de la Femme
  14. Colegio de Abogados y Abogagas de
    Puerto Rico
  15. Collectif Libérons Mumia
  16. Cornell Center on the Death Penalty
  17. Defense of Human Rights and Dignity
    Movement (iDefend)
  18. Demir Leblebi Kadin Derneği
  19. Eleos Justice, Monash University
  20. Families of Victims of Involuntary
    Disappearance (FIND)
  21. Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA
  22. Femmes for Freedom Algemeen
  23. Focal Commissioner for Women’s
    Human Rights and the Anti-Death
    Penalty Campaign Commission on
    Human Rights of the Philippines
  24. Foundation for Elimination of
    Violence Against Women – Mitra
  25. Gender Violence Clinic – University
    of Maryland Carey School of Law
  26. German Coalition to Abolish the
    Death Penalty
  27. Girl Concern
  28. Human Rights & Democracy Media
    Center SHAMS/Palestine
  29. International Commission of Jurists
  30. Italian Federation for Human Rights
  31. Japan Innocence and Death Penalty
    Information Center
  32. Karapatan Alliance
  33. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  34. lifespark
  35. Magistrats Européens pour la
    Démocratie et les Libertés
  36. Maldivian Democracy Network
  37. Mamas for Burundi Association
  38. Medical Action Group
  39. NederlandstaligeVrouwenraad
  40. Parliamentarians for Global Action
  41. Pax Christi Uvira asbl
  42. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  43. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights
    Advocates (PAHRA)
  44. Philippine Coalition for the
    International Criminal Court
  45. Planète Réfugiés – Droits de l’Homme
  46. Punjab Women Collective
  47. REPECAP – International Academic
    Network for the Abolition of Capital
  48. Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour la
  49. Salam for Democracy and Human
  50. The Sentencing Project
  51. Serve
  52. Sosyal Yardımlaşma Rehabilitasyon

ve Adaptasyon Merkezi (SOHRAM-

  1. Southern Methodist University (SMU)
    Human Rights Program
  2. Task Force Detainees of the
  3. Texas After Violence Project
  4. UIA-IROL (Institute for the Rule of
    Law of the International Association
    of Lawyers)
  5. Vision des Filles Leaders pour le
  6. Women and Child
  7. Women and Harm Reduction
  8. Women Information Network
  9. Women’s Committee – UIA
    (International Association of Lawyers)
  10. World Coalition Against the Death