June 17, 2009
Greetings of Peace and Solidarity!
Over the recent years, there has been an assault on fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights including the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In the context of counter terrorism measures taken since 11 September 2001, this protection has been undermined - marked by a growing acceptance of torture or other ill-treatment in the context of intelligence-gathering, resort to illegal modes of detention for those suspected of involvement in terrorism, and lack of accountability for those who have authorized or committed torture and other ill-treatment. These are key challenges facing the human rights movement.
Locally, in spite of strong provisions enshrined in the Philippine Constitution prohibiting the use of torture and the Philippines having had been a state party to the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) since 1987, the act remains in widespread use today. The concept of the right to be free from torture eludes the general public and disappointingly, government representatives and state security forces as well. In order to see the decline of the practice in the Philippines, it is important that all members of society become informed of this right inherent to all individuals.
For the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26, 2009, the United Against Torture Coalition will focus on the Philippine government’s recent reaffirmation to the UN Committee Against Torture to do everything in its power to absolutely prohibit of torture ill-treatment in the country. The UATC, spearheaded by Amnesty International Philippines (AIPh), the Balay Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (BALAY), the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND), the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines will join the international community in the global campaign to prevent and stop the practice of torture in all corners of the world as codified in the UNCAT 23 years ago.
With the theme “Anti Torture Law: Now Na!”, the UATC will lead representatives from other civil society organizations and select government organizations in the “Basta! Run Against Torture III (BRAT III)!” on the 26th of June. The two-hour human rights run will assemble at 630 am and will subsequently start at 7 AM at the UP Oblation Statue and will end at 9 AM at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
In line with this activity, we would like to ask your institution / organization to join us once again in the said event. Just like last year’s Basta Run Against Torture II and the succeeding 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Commemoration activities, your continued assistance and generosity to our endeavors has provided us with successful human rights awareness activities throughout the years. Your favorable response to this request will help us ensure yet another success in our unwavering quest for the utmost protection, respect and fulfillment of human rights in the whole country and at the international community as well.
If you have any queries regarding our activity, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Amy Abcede of the Medical Action Group at 4331594.
Yours in the Spirit of Human Rights,
Edeliza Hernandez, R.N.
Medical Action Group