5 Apr 2011.
I am writing to express my deep concern and horror at what I believe to be a flagrant violation of human rights committed by Danish pharmaceutical company, H. Lundbeck. As you know, there are still parts of the world which practice the outmoded and barbaric punishment that is the death penalty. Thankfully for us, Europe renounced such practices long ago, and Denmark herself was among the first to do so, more than three-quarters of a century ago. Yet now, thanks to the unscrupulous actions of Danish manufacturer, Lundbeck, Europe runs the unthinkable risk of becoming complicit in executions once again.
As you know, Lundbeck manufactures pentobarbital, a drug which has been designated by several states in the USA as an essential component of their new lethal injection protocols. More and more states are opting to use Lundbeck’s drugs in executions, in large part because Lundbeck has made it so easy for them to do so. Lundbeck has missed every opportunity to put a stop to the use of their drugs in executions, and as such, is directly complicit in capital punishment in the USA.
As a strong abolitionist country, as member of the European Union, and signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights which expressly prohibits the use of the death penalty (protocols 6 and 13), I would have thought Denmark would be the first to deplore such immoral behaviour as that currently being exhibited by Danish manufacturer, Lundbeck.
It is unacceptable for Lundbeck to sit back and do nothing while prisoners on death row are killed in their name; they must do whatever it takes to prevent themselves from being complicit in executions, and I call upon the Danish government to remind Lundbeck most forcefully of their obligations in this regard. Europe does not, should not, and shall not support capital punishment under any circumstances. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this crucial and urgent issue.
Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador,
Member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA
Trustee, Amazon Charitable Trust