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Liberal Democracies and the Torture of Their Citizens

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This book analyses and compares how the USA's liberal allies responded to the use of torture against their citizens after 9/11. Did they resist, tolerate or support the Bush Administration's policies concerning the mistreatment of detainees when their own citizens were implicated and what were the reasons for their actions? Australia, the UK and Canada are liberal democracies sharing similar political cultures, values and alliances with America; yet they behaved differently when their citizens, caught up in the War on Terror, were tortured. How states responded to citizens' human rights claims and predicaments was shaped, in part, by demands for accountability placed on the executive government by domestic actors. This book argues that civil society actors, in particular, were influenced by nuanced differences in their national political and legal contexts that enabled or constrained human rights activism. It maps the conditions under which individuals and groups were more or less likely to become engaged when fellow citizens were tortured, focusing on national rights culture, the domestic legal and political human rights framework, and political opportunities.

Author: Banham Cynthia
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781509906840
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2017

1. Introduction

2. Torture and Liberal Democracies

3. Enabling and Constraining Activism

4. America's Use of Torture After 9/11

5. Australia

6. The United Kingdom

7. Canada

8. Conclusion

Dr Cynthia Banham is a University of Queensland Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Political Science and International Studies. She is also a Visitor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Cynthia was previously a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the ANU's Centre for International Governance and Justice, RegNet, where she also completed her PhD thesis. She is a lawyer and former journalist and was the foreign affairs and defence correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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