A new Red Cross survey shows that the majority of Australians oppose torture in war but many don't know that torturing a soldier for information is wrong, while some think it is acceptable.
Between June and September 2016 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) surveyed more than 17,000 people across 16 countries on their perceptions of war and International Humanitarian Law. Australian Red Cross commissioned a shorter version of the survey with a representative sample of the Australian community.
International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of international laws that set what can and cannot be done during an armed conflict. In short, the laws of war mean: people should not be tortured, civilians should not be targeted and detainees must be treated humanely.
The four Geneva Conventions were written after the experiences of WWII in an effort to prevent the suffering experienced in that conflict from ever being repeated. They have been officially adopted by 190 countries around the world, and apply today in all international armed conflicts.
While most Australians strongly uphold humanitarian values, others seem ambivalent about why humanitarian laws matter.
Survey conducted for Australian Red Cross by Colmar Brunton.
Findings from the global 'People on War' survey
Two out of three people worldwide believe that wars should have limits.
People living in countries affected by war believe that law matters, more so than people living in peace in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
Read the complete People on War report
Find out why the laws of war matter to us all
You can help by learning more about international humanitarian law, speaking up when civilians are harmed or soldiers are tortured, historic and cultural monuments are destroyed, and when hospitals are attacked.
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