A recent publication by the Department of Law at the University of Dhaka, in collaboration with Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and DPRU partners The Death Penalty Project, has been cited in a new UN report issued at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), which is currently being held in Geneva.

The UN office in Geneva, Switzerland

Photo credit: UN Photo via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-NC 2.0

The UN report, which provides an annual update on the issue of the death penalty on behalf of the UN Secretary General, is focused on the impacts of the lack of transparency in the use of the death penalty.

The UN report cites the publication Living Under Sentence of Death, published by The Death Penalty Project, which maps the socio-economic profiles of a sample of death sentenced prisoners in Bangladesh and the progress of their cases, drawing on qualitative evidence of their experiences of, and opinions of, the criminal justice process. The publication’s foreword was contributed by DPRU Director Professor Carolyn Hoyle.

Paragraph 44 of the UN report refers to the publication’s data on the total length of time that prisoners in the sample spent under sentence of death:

"General Comment 36 of the [International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)] states that subjecting prisoners on death row to extreme delay violates articles 6 and 7. According to experts in this area, the failure to keep track of death row populations leads to a greater risks of extreme delay, which has been shown to aggravate the ‘death row phenomenon’, the intense distress brought on by being on death row. For example, one study found that in Bangladesh, the longest and shortest durations in death penalty cases were reportedly 11 years 2 months 7 days and 1 year 6 months 8 days. …”

An overview of the findings of the Bangladesh publication, co-authored by Professor Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman of the University of Dhaka and Psymhe Wadud, can be found on the DPRU Blog here

An advance unedited version of the UN report can be accessed on the HRC website here.