International Survey on Torture and Secret Interrogation

by Roger Alford

An international survey of nine countries reveals that in no surveyed country except two do a majority of respondents maintain that torture is never justified. A majority in four countries maintain that it rarely, sometimes, or often is justified. In response to the question, “How do you feel about the use of torture against suspected terrorists to obtain information” these were the results:

Never Justified: U.S. (36%), Canada (49%), Mexico (40%), S. Korea (10%), France (40%), Germany (48%), Italy (60%), Spain (54%), U.K. (48%).

Often, Sometimes, or Rarely Justified: U.S. (61%), Canada (49%), Mexico (49%), S. Korea (86%), France (57%), Germany (50%), Italy (37%), Spain (37%), U.K. (51%).

But when asked where U.S. interrogations (not torture) of suspected terrorists should occur, the overwhelming response in eight of the nine surveyed countries was not in my back yard. In response to the question “Would you support or oppose allowing the United States to secretly interrogate suspected terrorists in (Country) to try to obtain information about terrorist activities” these were the results:


Oppose: U.S. (32%), Canada (63%), Mexico (78%), S. Korea (71%), France (60%), Germany (60%), Italy (55%), Spain (66%), U.K. (62%).

What is remarkable is that there is stronger international opposition to the secret interrogation of terrorists by the United States abroad than there is to the occasional use of torture itself.

The survey is available here. An ABC news article on the survey is available here.

http://opiniojuris.org/2005/12/07/international-survey-on-torture-and-secret-interrogation/

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