The purpose and work of the group

HOW DOES THE GROUP WORK?

As an advocacy group working for more than 35 years against the death penalty and health professionals’ involvement in this the Danish Medical Group Against the Death Penalty has developed a set of working methods.

Being a part of Amnesty International, the Danish Medical Group Against the Death Penalty draws on the ways to gain influence that the organization has developed but has also found its own methods of work. This is all done to achieve the group’s main goals: To end the participation of medical personnel in capital punishments, to stop the execution of mentally ill or disabled people, to stop the use of organs from executed prisoners for transplantation purposes, and to contribute to abolishing the death penalty. 

End the participation of medical personnel in capital punishments

One of the main purposes of the group is to end the participation of physicians and other health professionals in the death penalty and at executions and to stop the use of medicine and medical technology for executions. This includes certain forms of medical involvement on death row, participation in executions including lethal injection, and organ transplantations in relation to capital punishments. 

As doctors, the group therefore aims to put maximum focus on the participation of physicians and other health professionals in the death penalty and at executions. 

Maximum influence through different means of action

The work of the group consists of many different tasks. One major area is contact and cooperation with national and international medical associations and other international organizations. The group has urged medical associations to pass resolutions against medical participation in the death penalty and against the death penalty in general. In many cases this has borne fruit. Several resolutions have been passed that have been inspired by the work of the group. The group has gathered some of the most important resolutions, which you can see here. 

In addition, the group’s members perform a range of different advocacy work:

  • At medical and nursing conferences the group works to draw attention to death penalty issues.
  • Members write articles in medical journals and newspapers and participate in other media activities.
  • The group seeks to influence the authorities, particularly the health authorities, and politicians both in countries with and without the death penalty.
  • The group protests in specific cases when sick people have been sentenced to death and executed or when doctors have been involved in executions. In most cases these are people suffering from psychiatric disorders or mental disability.
  • One special focus area is the group’s work against the use of organs from executed prisoners for transplantations, often as part of organ sale.

Together for more impact

The group works closely with Amnesty’s International Secretariat in London and the Danish Section of Amnesty International. The group cooperates with medical groups of other national sections and with organizations outside Amnesty working to abolish the death penalty.

Written: 2020-06-04 by Lars Bønløkke