The Age, an Australian newspaper, reminds us that the death penalty is a human-rights issue. A timely reminder, as an Australian national is facing the death penalty in Singapore for drug-smuggling. Now Singapore is well-known for its zero-tolerance policy for dangerous crimes something which is reflected in the low crime rates in the city-state. The paper argues
The fact that most of Singapore’s executions have been for drug offences suggests that the death penalty has failed to deter the trade in illegal drugs, too. The Age has long opposed use of the death penalty in any circumstances. It is a resort to barbarism, even when it is imposed on those who have themselves committed great acts of barbarism [The Age]
This is wrong. While drug-dealing has not been eliminated totally, Singapore’s record on curbing drug addiction and trafficking is the best in the region. That drug addiction affects not just individuals, but families and societies is well known: in a way, drug dealing is a crime against society and deserves the highest punishment.