Wednesday, October 7, 2009

PGMA: Have the will...Sign the Anti-Torture Bill!

Gloria M. Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines

September 21, 2009

In 2001, together we willed to end the impunity consequent of plunder’s reign, let us again together will to expunge the impunity caused by torture.

The immediate enactment of the legislation is necessary to protect the rights of people to be free from torture, and would be a sign of the international status of the Philippines as a defender of human rights.

Furthermore, there are still many countries in the Asian and ASEAN region where a law criminalizing torture is absent. Given the Philippines’ political weight and membership in the UN Human Right Council (UNHRC), the signing gains an edge to influence others to take this positive step as well.

And lastly, the Freedom from Torture Law is necessary in order for the legal embodiment of the right not to be tortured to come full circle in the Philippines. The measure will ensure that the articles under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights under the Philippine Constitution, which stipulate the right to be free from torture, freedom from illegal detention, freedom from forced confessions and the right of torture victims to receive compensation and rehabilitation services, will redound to the lives of the people.

In fine, we echo the sentiments of the UN Committee Against Torture that, “The enactment of a domestic legal framework banning the use of torture in the Philippines is an absolute necessity.” We urge you to uphold the basic human right to be free from torture by immediately signing and enacting the Anti-Torture legislation.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Right Advocates (PAHRA) and the undersigned urge you to claim your place in our country’s history as the President who outlawed torture nationwide, bringing the country into compliance with its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT).

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