‘Do you support torture if it can gather information that can protect the public?’ While the majority of people across the globe answer a resounding ‘no’, 37 per-cent of Danish men disagree and gave a resounding ‘yes’.
According to a recent Yougov poll, published in the Metroexpress, 17 per-cent of women in Denmark also supported torture. Overall the support for torture in the poll is identical to the support of torture shown in Russia and South Korea.
It is a shocking revelation, particularly in a country with a long and pioneering history supporting the global fight against torture – a history reflected in the fact that Denmark houses the headquarters of the International Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (IRCT), a global network of more than 140 torture rehabilitation centres around the world, including three in Denmark: Dignity, OASIS and RCT Jylland.
Clearly there are deep-seated misconceptions about torture, the effectiveness of it and the effects it has on victims. Also, the time-ticking bomb scenario is still tricking the public to favour torture.
First of all the principle of using torture to gather information is wrong. We live in societies based on democratic, human principles of respect, dignity and integrity. Ensuring these principles is fundamental for a progressive, secure world.
But secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the rationale for justifying torture is also wrong – simply put, the question is flawed in the first instance because it wrongly assumes that information collected from torture can protect the public. This is largely a myth. Evidence has shown that the information torture produces is, at best, unreliable.
Therefore, the use of information obtained through torture is often not admissible in legal proceedings. In fact, any use of evidence gained through torture breaks the UN Convention Against Torture, ratified by a majority of countries.
Everyone has the duty to hold states to account for their torture, not to support them in their torture. Torture is a crime with far-reaching consequences and it should be in the minds of everyone to stop this inhumane crime. This includes the Danish people.
Regardless of the differences between the genders, regardless of the apparent justifications, torture is a crime and a severe abuse of human rights. Next time you are asked a similar question, consider your answer.