Unpacking Dignity for Death Row Inmates in Southeast Asia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The concept of dignity is complex. For centuries, it has been widely shaped and debated by theologians, philosophers, jurists, and others as to its meaning, usefulness, and/or values. Nevertheless, a clear and solid understanding has yet to be reached. This chapter attempts to give meaning to the concept of dignity as regards death row inmates in Southeast Asia, particularly how their dignity has been perceived, treated, and respected. As such, the discussion highlights four different aspects of dignity. First, as a point of departure, it considers the meaning of dignity in ASEAN countries by examining their constitutions. Second, it contends that fully guaranteeing rights to the due process of law is necessary as a means to respect the dignity of the criminal justice system. Third, the validity of ‘humane’ executions is challenged and the hidden victims of capital punishment are revealed. In short, this chapter argues that despite its complexity, dignity should be defined as an intrinsic human value that can serve as a tool as well as a destination of human rights. Thus, protecting the human rights of death row inmates entails respecting the full integrity of their human dignity and that of their families.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnpacking the Death Penalty in ASEAN
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811988400
ISBN (Print)9789811988394
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


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