[Press Release] Torture in the Philippines over the past 30 years -APT

Torture in the Philippines over the past 30 years
Global research on the prevention of torture: Presentation of country study

What are the key factors that can reduce torture and ill-treatment? This question has been the focus of a three-year research project, based on 16 country studies from all regions of the world. On Tuesday 17 March, Atty. Ricardo Sunga, University of the Philippines,presented the research project and gave an overview of the situation in the country.


17 March 2015.The research project was commissioned in 2011 by the Geneva-based Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and carried out by a team of independent researchers under the leadership of Professor Richard Carver, Oxford Brookes University, UK. The research focuses on whether preventive measures – such as an appropriate legal framework, monitoring of places of detention and access to lawyers – have had an impact on the prevalence of torture over a period of 30 years. Apart from the Philippines, research partners have studied the situation in Argentina, Chile, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The Philippines’ country study was conducted by Atty. Ricardo Sunga, a legal and human rights expert from the Human Rights Institute of the University of the Philippines. Atty. Sunga has now, for the first time, presenting his work and findings regarding torture in the Philippines, from 1985 to 2013. Torture was at its peak at the beginning of the period, at the tail end of the regime of president Ferdinand Marcos. Torture decreased slightly following the end of the Marcos regime, though its frequency, severity and geographical spread remained high. Atty. Ricardo Sunga has specifically focused on the legal developments around criminalization of torture, leading to the adoption of the Anti-Torture Act in 2009 and the growing potential of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights as an independent complaints and monitoring mechanism.

The complete, global research report will be published in 2016. The findings are of great importance and will help design more effective strategies to prevent torture, in the Philippines and internationally.

The research presentation took place in conjunction to another important gathering on the prevention of torture and ill-treatment– a national forum on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, which the Philippines ratified in 2012. The meeting was organised by the United Against Torture Coalition, the Commission on Human Rights and the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Rights.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Shazeera Zawawi, Association for the Prevention of Torture (www.apt.ch) +639062775853, szawawi@apt.ch
Atty. Ricardo Sunga, Human Rights Institute of the University of the Philippines, +639178542124.

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