Dignity Danish Institute Against Torture

Legal basis (mandates) and mission

DIGNITY, the Danish Institute Against Torture, is a Danish nongovernmental organization. It is a self-governing institution independent of party politics. DIGNITY's work is basically founded on the respect for human rights and the dignity and integrity of each individual. Therefore, it is DIGNITY's proclaimed objective to help alleviate the human suffering resulting from torture for the individual, family members and the community. DIGNITY also aims at preventing torture and seeks to achieve this aim by altering the mechanisms resulting in torture in each country. By preventing torture, DIGNITY also ensures respect for human rights, social justice and a development towards a society without human suffering.

The objectives are:

  • to expose and document torture on a health professional basis;
  • to develop clinical diagnoses and treatment methods of torture survivors on the basis of systematic examination of the torture survivors and research into torture and organized violence; and
  • to apply the experiences thus achieved in education and advocacy in order to contribute to the global effort to abolish torture.

In its work, DIGNITY focuses intensively on torture and ill-treatment in places of detention.

Topics of interest in the prison setting

  • Torture
  • Ill-treatment
  • Degrading treatment
  • Inhumane treatment
  • Violence
  • Access to legal safeguards
  • Vulnerable populations

Strategic operations

During 2014, DIGNITY initiated a new five-year strategy. First and foremost, the strategy states that DIGNITY's vision is a world without torture and other forms of organized violence. DIGNITY's goal is to ease the human suffering of torture survivors, to prevent torture and to be a global driving force in the development of new knowledge about torture and its consequences.

Role in prisons

DIGNITY's role in prisons includes the prevention of torture and ill-treatment through implementation of international prison standards and establishing independent monitoring mechanisms for monitoring places of detention. Moreover, DIGNITY, together with the Danish ombudsman and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, constitutes the Danish National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). The Danish NPM monitors places of detention in Denmark on a regular basis.

Target groups

Victims of torture and persons kept in places of detention.

Geographic region of focus

Global (developing countries), with a special focus on countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.