The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said the application of the death penalty may impede international cooperation to fight drug trafficking.
The UNODC said since there are national laws that do not allow the exchange of information and extradition with countries which impose capital punishment for the offences concerned, international cooperation to fight drug trafficking could be hampered.
Issuing a statement on Thursday in response to enquiries regarding reports from Sri Lanka on the application of the death penalty, the UNODC said 121 countries supported a general assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
“The three international drug control conventions which form the foundation of the global drug control system that had been agreed to by nearly every country in the world, cannot be used to justify the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences alone,” it said.
It said the dangers posed by illicitly-trafficked drugs are evident and lives are at stake but the use of the death penalty cannot provide durable solutions or protect individuals.
“The UNODC urges all member states to adhere to their commitments to promote balanced, human rights-based approaches to drug control and we stand ready to engage with all countries to bring criminals to justice with the appropriate legal safeguards, in line with international standards and norms and to promote evidence-based prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration,” it said.