Politics of International Advocacy Against the Death Penalty: Governments as Anti–Death Penalty Crusaders
Two-thirds of the countries worldwide have moved away from the death penalty in law or in practice, with global and regional organisations as well as individual governments working towards universal abolition. This article critically examines the narratives of these abolitionist governments that have abolished the death penalty in their country and have adopted the role of ‘moral crusaders’ (Becker 1963) in pursuit of global abolition. In 2018, the Australian Government, while being surrounded by retentionist states in Asia, joined the anti–death penalty enterprise along with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway. Using the concepts of ‘moral crusader’ (Becker 1963) and ‘performativity’ (Butler 1993), this article argues that advocacy must be acted on repeatedly for governments to be anti–death penalty advocates. Otherwise, these government efforts serve political ends in appearance but are simply a self-serving form of advocacy in practice.
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