[Press Release] Putting torture prevention on the Philippines’ national agenda | TFDP


In commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in cooperation with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines today launched a public forum on the prevention of torture.

The event is supported by the European Union through the project “Reducing risky practices leading to torture and ill-treatment in Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand” (#SafeInCustody).

The public forum, which is also streamed through Facebook, highlights the importance of torture prevention work in the country. Over the years, the Philippines faced many challenges that includes overcrowding of detention places and concerning gaps in implementing criminal procedures and safeguards that are in line with international human rights standards. According to the Commission on Human Rights, however, members of the security forces and police were accused of routinely abusing and sometimes torturing suspects and detainees. On June 26, 1987, the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect. The Philippines acceded to this Convention on 18 June 1986.

Speakers from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Philippines’ National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders will discuss the improvement of the criminal justice procedures and community policing as well as strengthening independent oversight of police detention in the country.

The multisectoral dialogue aims to develop a national roadmap that will promote a safer and responsive police custody in the Philippines.

The APT welcomes the new Philippine administration and at the same time reiterated the need to improve the implementation of the Philippines’ Anti-Torture Act of 2009 that criminalizes torture and protects the rights of detainees, including those under the police custody.

The Mendez Principles, a set of new Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering that protects detainees’ human rights will also be discussed.

“We need to strengthen solidarity among stakeholders and consolidate all our actions towards strengthening greater public confidence in the criminal justice system and hopefully building a broader consensus that everyone held in custody should be treated with dignity and respect,” APT and TFDP concluded.

The event was also made possible with the cooperation from the CHR and UATC-Philippines.

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