[Press Release] Amnesty International says reviving the death penalty won’t make the Philippines any safer
Amnesty International says reviving the death penalty won’t make the Philippines any safer
Revival of the death penalty “due to an alarming upsurge of crimes” is counter-progressive, Amnesty International Philippines said today following the filing of two bills in the Philippine Senate and Congress – Senate Bill 2080 seeking to repeal Republic Act 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty and House Bill 1213 imposing the death penalty on foreigners found guilty of drug trafficking.
“Any move to revive the death penalty in the Philippines is a retrograde step and a serious setback for human rights in the country. And it does not even guarantee us of a safer Philippines,” said Dr. Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.
The human rights group criticized both bills as an attempt to “quickly fix” crime when on the contrary there has never been any convincing evidence to support the argument that the death penalty prevents crime more effectively than other punishments.
“Despite the lack of convincing evidence of the deterrent effect of the death penalty on crimes in ious countries, some politicians and government officials often present death penalty as a crime-control measure when faced with high crime rates. To effectively deter crime, the Philippine government should diligently implement laws and bring to justice perpetrators of crimes, without discrimination, whether rich or poor and regardless of power or influence. The different branches of government must be fully al and effective in the ious steps of the criminal justice process – effective policing, effective investigations of crimes, good cooperation between the investigators and the prosecutors, fair trials, competent judges, regulations in the use of firearms and ammunitions, among others.” explained Dr. Parong.
According to an Amnesty International Report “Not making us safer — Crime, public safety and the death penalty”, studies have shown that the general perception of safety is directly influenced by how effective the work of the police, the judiciary and the country’s institutions is perceived to be.
“For people to feel safe, the police have to be perceived as competent and protector of peoples who are able to prevent and control crime. Police accountability for acts of abuses in handling criminal cases are also important factors in building trust in the police service,” Dr. Parong further said.
Amnesty International also believes that public interest would be best served by strengthening the judicial system so that offenders are brought to justice without their own human rights being violated. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.
“Opposing the death penalty does not mean supporting impunity for crime. Amnesty International acknowledges fully the suffering of victims of violent crime and their families, and recognizes the duty of governments to protect the rights of victims of crime. However, anger and grief, no matter how justified, should not be used to justify the resumption of executions or retention of the death penalty,” added Dr. Parong.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1989 believing that “the abolition of the death penalty contributes to enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights.” The UN General Assembly is also convinced that all measures of abolition of the death penalty should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life.
“We believe that those found responsible, in a fair judicial process, of a crime should be punished but without recourse to the death penalty. 140 countries have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. People want to be protected from crime, they want to live in safer societies. But the death penalty does not make us safer,” concluded Dr. Parong.
Download copy of report – “Not making us safer — Crime, public safety and the death penalty” here: http://bit.ly/not_safer
29 January 2014
Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.