Tuesday, November 15, 2016

UK Tories are soft on the death penalty

Opposition to the death penalty has been a longstanding plank of UK foreign policy. But under the Conservative government, they seem to be going soft on it. First, they told the Foreign Office to stop talking about it. Now, they're openly advocating letting Turkey walk away from its international commitments not to murder people:

Boris Johnson stunned his EU foreign minister counterparts this afternoon by calling on the bloc to tone down its opposition to Turkey reintroducing the death penalty, it has been reported.

Diplomats present at the foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels said that Mr Johnson had warned against pushing Turkey “into a corner” over the issue.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the return of the death penalty this summer after he purged over 100,000 potential political opponents from the country’s civil service and arrested opposition political parties.

The problem is that practicising state murder is now a fundamental barrier to EU membership - so if Turkey reinstates executions (and abrogates its commitments under both the ECHR and the second optional protocol to the ICCPR in the process), it can never join. Which might get in the way of arms sales or something. And OTOH, why the hell is the UK trying to dictate EU membership decisions anyway? After all, they're leaving; they shouldn't be allowed to fuck things up for everybody on the way out.

Meanwhile, you really have to wonder: if the UK is soft on executions internationally, do they want to reintroduce them at home? Again, its banned by their participation in the EU and ECHR - but Teresa May wants to get rid of both of those things in the name of "Britishness" (because human rights apparently aren't British - the Magna Carta and Thomas Paine aside). So, does Brexit mean British executions?