September 6, 2010
“We have seen that not much progress can be reported with regards to the compliance of the Philippine government with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture,” the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines said in its report to the UN Committee Against Torture.
On September 3, 2010, the UATC-Philippines submitted its Alternative CAT Follow-up Report to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Report was a collaborative effort of non-government organizations NGOs under UATC)-Philippines namely Amnesty International-Philippines, BALAY Rehabilitation Center Inc., Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center Inc. (CLRD), Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), Medical Action Group (MAG), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). http://www.scribd.com/doc/37007657/Philippine-NGOs-Alternative-Follow-Up-CAT-Information-Report
“One of our assertions on the Alternative Report we submitted to the UN is that the use of torture is widespread in the country and the police and military still use acts of torture as a “routine”. In most cases, all detainees are not afforded with legal safeguards from the very outset of their detention and torture victims were the ones initially arrested without warrant like the case of Lenin Salas and four others who were arbitrarily arrested and tortured in San Fernando, Pampanga,” the group said in its report.
UATC emphasized on its report that the recent cases of torture lead and point to the government’s reluctance to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country as contained in the Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture.
On May 15, 2009, the Committee Against Torture transmitted to the State party its Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of the Philippines which was submitted seventeen years late.
The UATC said that “there were twenty-six (26) Recommendations to the Philippine government to take in order to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country. Out of twenty-six Recommendations, the Committee specifically identified a number of concerns in the Concluding Recommendations that are “serious, protective and can be achieved within one year” which shall be implemented and reported back to the Committee after one year.”
The five principal concerns raised by the UN Committee Against Torture are torture and ill-treatment and insufficient safeguards during police detention of all detainees; prompt, effective and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment committed by law enforcement agencies; effectiveness and independence of the Commission on Human Rights; sexual violence in detention; and children in detention.
The Philippines acceded to the UN Convention Against Torture on June 18, 1986. –end-