Who tortures whom?

If you draw a Net-Map to understand who influences the passing and implementation of anti-torture policies in the Philipines, it might not be enough to draw links that reflect advocacy, formal lines of command or flows of money. Torture in the Phillipines was one of the examples that participants of my Net-Map training with Nedwork (http://www.nedworc.org) in Utrecht used. And one of the links they drew was: “Who tortures whom?”

I encourage users to make the different links they draw as diverse as possible, to include formal and informal, and, if it makes sense, material and imaterial flows. Normally when I think of material flows, that is money, seeds, products (as compared to information, orders, policy pressure). Somehow the torture link also feels like it is a material flow, one actor in the network gives this product to another one… Does that make any sense?

Drawing the torture link made a lot of sense. The participants were interested in understanding how the advocacy of perpetrators and opponents of torture affects the system. But to understand these advocacy networks, it was crucial to anchor them in the actual torture network. As you can see in the picture, we used two different colors for the influence towers: Red are those who use their influence towards continuing torture, while the white towers are the influence of those who fight against it.

The lady who drew the network was a foreigner engaged in the anti-torture advocacy. It would be incredibly interesting to draw networks about this question with people in country, especially because of the kind of discussion and deeper insights (deeper than the network picture) everyone in the room could gather. But, on the other hand it is definitely one of these questions where I would be extremely wary to invite people for a group mapping (it is easier to create a safe space in individual interviews) and where the interviewer does not just need to know the method well but also has to know the country, the situation and have a good sense of how far you can go before you are going too far.


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