Tag Archives: Amnesty International Philippines

[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.

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“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

Press Release
29 January 2014

http://amnesty.org.ph/news.php?item=news&id=328

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[Press Release] Hundreds of cyclists demand passage and implementation of human rights laws -AIPh

Hundreds of cyclists demand passage and implementation of human rights laws

Photo grabbed from AIph FB

Photo grabbed from AIph FB

 

More than a thousand participants of the Amnesty International Philippines’ Bike for Rights PadyaKarapatan 2013 cycled through 7 cities of Metro Manila reminding the Aquino administration and the 16th Congress of their obligation to enact and implement legislation necessary for protecting human rights of Filipino citizens.

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The 78-kilometer Bike for Rights which is now on its 19th year carried the theme ‘Sampung Tanong ng Bayan sa Pamahalaang Aquino at Kongreso’ reiterating the 10 Point Human Rights Legislative Agenda of Amnesty International Philippines and its previous calls and demands upon the Aquino government.

“Before the 2010 and 2013 elections, Amnesty International presented its Philippine Human Rights Agenda to the candidates and promises were subsequently made. As the year ends, we ask 10 questions – ‘Sampung Tanong ng Bayan sa Pamahalaang Aquino at Kongreso’ – to remind the Aquino government and the 16th Congress about important human rights agenda which they need to act upon immediately starting 2014,” explained Dr. Aurora A. Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

The 10 questions highlighted, among others, the need for Congressional oversight in the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law, ratification of the International Convention on Enforced disappearances, amendment of the Witness Protection Program, review of the Cybercrime Prevention Act and repeal of discriminatory laws against women, gender and ethnic minorities, as well as the strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights through the adoption of its Charter.

Amnesty International recognizes that many good laws for the protection of human rights were enacted in recent years. Yet the organization is deeply concerned on the continuing crimes and abuses as well as the failure of the Philippine criminal justice system to ensure that justice is served fairly and without delay to victims of human rights violations. Impunity exists, perpetrators of crimes and human rights abuses are not prosecuted and justice is not served to the victims and their families.

“Our laws penalize killings, torture and other human rights violations, however, the killings continue, torture continues, and enforced disappearances remain realities in our country. Three journalists were killed during the past of two weeks. Perpetrators of these killings and abuses get away with their crimes. The good laws do not positively impact on people’s lives,” added Dr. Parong.

Three journalists were killed in the last two weeks – Rogelio Butalid was shot dead in Tagum City on Wednesday while Michael Milo of Tandag City and Jash Dignos of Valencia City was killed on 29 November according to news sources.

Amnesty International reminds the Philippine government to work towards better governance, at the national, provincial and municipal levels, by combating impunity within their jurisdiction. The criminal justice system must be made to work effectively towards penalizing perpetrators of abuses to end impunity and prevent extra judicial killings, unlawful arrests, secret detention, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

“Amnesty International Philippines calls on the Aquino government to take immediate steps to diligently implement pro-human rights laws and enhance our system of laws by acting on the10 points human rights agenda within the 16th Congress.” concluded the Director.

The Bike for Rights: PadyaKarapatan 2013 culminates Amnesty International Philippines’ celebration the 65th year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The cycling event started in Quezon City traversing though Marikina, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Manila and back to the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

The complete Amnesty International’s Legislative Agenda to the 16th Congress can be downloaded here: bit.ly/legagenda16th

Amnesty International Philippines
Press Release
15 December 2013

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.

[Announcement] AI-Ph Job vacancy

Amnesty International Philippines is looking for experienced and passionate individuals on human rights to join its team

Finance Officer
Permanent Position

AI small> Mainly responsible for the implementation of AIPh Financial Policies through the development of appropriate procedures, guidelines, forms and controls
> Ensure implementation of control within financial transactions including cash advances and liquidations, petty cash funds, cash receipts and receipt books
> Consolidate the annual operational budget and budget for funding applications in coordination with other staff and departments for the consideration and approval of the Section Director
> Manage the office expenses within the agreed budget and keep accurate track of expenses
> Assists in the development of appropriate reports and financial status documents and the implementation of regular financial reviews
> Assists in the annual external financial audit and quarterly internal audit of the organization

Application deadline: October 24, 2013 (Thursday)
Send completed application form and portfolio of work to jobsaiph@gmail.com

Application form can be downloaded at http://www.bit.ly/aiphjobform

For further information, please contact us at (632) 4338100

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.

[Press Release] Philippines: Torturers evade justice on Aquino’s watch -AI-Ph

Philippines: Torturers evade justice on Aquino’s watch

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has failed to ensure that police officers charged with torture face justice under the country’s anti-torture law, Amnesty International said on the International Day against Torture.

In August 2010, a national television news programme broadcast a mobile-phone video of a police officer torturing criminal suspect Darius Evangelista while other officers at a Manila police station looked on. The footage showed Evangelista writhing in pain as the officer, identified as Senior Inspector Joselito Binayug, yanked a cord attached to the detainee’s penis and whipped him with a rope.

After a 22-year campaign, the Philippine Congress in 2009 passed the Anti-Torture Act (Republic Act 9745), which prescribes criminal penalties for torture and other ill-treatment. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, the law also establishes liability for superiors who fail to prevent or punish torture committed by their subordinates.

In the first case filed under the Anti-Torture Act, charges were brought against Binayug and six other officers, and a warrant for their arrest was issued in November 2011 by the Regional Trial Court in Manila. Since then, two of the police officers who were allegedly involved in Evangelista’s torture at the Asuncion police station have turned themselves in.

However, Philippine Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales announced in April 2012 that the principal suspect, Joselito Binayug, had gone missing. Of the seven police officers charged in the case, five remain at large. In April 2012, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told media she had thought that Binayug was in police custody, but the head of the Philippine National Police confirmed the suspect’s disappearance.

“Based on the Evangelista case, it appears that members of the Philippine National Police have managed to torture, and possibly even kill a person, with no fear of sanction, while two years on, the victim’s family is left waiting for justice. Those affected by police torture and ill-treatment including beatings need a truly independent body that can properly investigate such allegations of human rights violations. Crucially, this independent body needs to be given the mandate to directly work with a special prosecutor from the Department of Justice to ensure a seamless link between investigation and successful prosecution,” declared Dr. Aurora A. Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

Binayug was dismissed from the police force in January 2011 after Task Force Asuncion, a police body formed to investigate allegations of torture at the Asuncion police station, confirmed that he was the police officer in the video.

Amnesty International called on President Aquino, as commander-in-chief, to order the police to cooperate with the Regional Trial Court and the Department of Justice by arresting Binayug and the other four officers charged in the torture of Darius Evangelista.

Dr. Parong said, “President Aquino, as commander-in-chief, needs to order the police to ensure that nothing or no one hinders them from arresting Binayug and the other four officers charged in the torture of Darius Evangelista. Internal disciplinary procedures are for dealing with minor offences, not grave human rights violations.”

“ President Aquino should also make it clear that any police officers who obstruct Binayug’s arrest will be held accountable for “harbouring, concealing or assisting in the escape of the principal” under the Anti-Torture Act, “ concluded Parong.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Press release
26 June 2012

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[Urgent Action] Missing men believed to be in police custody – AIPh

URGENT ACTION: MISSING MEN BELIEVED TO BE IN POLICE CUSTODY
by Amnesty International Philippines

Further information on UA: 13/12 Index: ASA 35/002/2012 Philippines

http://www.amnesty.org.ph/appeals.php?id=17

Date: 30 January 2012

Three men, who have been missing since 3 January, are now believed to be in police custody in an undisclosed location in the Philippines.

According to a credible source, intelligence agents apprehended Najir Ahung, Rasdie Kasaran and Yusup Mohammad at Manila domestic airport terminal on 3 January, after they flew in from Zamboanga City. Before being taken, Yusup Mohammad called his mother on his mobile phone, saying they had arrived in Manila.

Najir Ahung also sent an SMS to a relative. That is the last time that anybody has heard from them.

A reliable source has told Amnesty International that the three men are now being held by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police in an undisclosed location. It is feared that they are being detained incommunicado, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

The three men were in transit in Manila on their way to Sudan to study under the Arabic Language Programme of the International University of Africa. Najir Ahung is the father of ten children, and an Arabic teacher in a local Islamic school in Basilan, south of the country. Rasdie Kasaran is the father of one child and also a teacher at an Islamic school.

While the Philippine military routinely denies involvement in any case of enforced disappearance, in previous years Amnesty International has documented the military’s use of enforced disappearance against activists and suspected fighters and supporters of insurgent groups.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

  • expressing concern for the safety and wellbeing of Najir Ahung, Rasdie Kasaran and Yusup Mohammad, who were apprehended in Manila Airport on 3 January;
  • urging the authorities to immediately establish and reveal where the three men are being held;
  • calling on them to release Najir Ahung, Rasdie Kasaran and Yusup Mohammad immediately and unconditionally, or else charge them with a recognizably criminal offence.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 12 MARCH 2012 TO:

Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Chief

Police Director Samuel Pagdilao, Jr.
CIDG Office, Camp General Crame

Quezon City, Philippines
Fax:
+63 2705 1526 (extension 5412)

Salutation: Dear Police Director

Chief, Philippine National Police

Police Dir. General Nicanor Bartolome
Philippine National Police Headquarters
Camp General Crame
Quezon City, Philippines

Email: via contact form: http://www.pnp.gov.ph/main/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=1&Itemid=67

Salutation: Dear Police
Director General

And copies to:

Department of Interior and
Local Government Secretary

Secretary Jesse M. Robredo
A. Francisco Gold
Condominium II,
EDSA cor. Mapagmahal St.,
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Email jmrobredo@dilg.gov.ph

Fax: +63 2925 0332

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name
Address 1
Address 2
Address 3
Fax
Fax number
Email
Email address
Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 13/12. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA35/001/2012/en

Additional Information

Najir Ahung, Rasdie Kasaran and Yusup Mohammad are all residents of Al-Barka municipality, where there is known to be a camp of the insurgent group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Al-Barka municipality, in the remote island province of Basilan, southern Philippines, has seen intermittent fighting between the Philippine military and MILF. Other armed groups including Abu
Sayyaf are also known to be present in the province, adding to general instability there.

Two of the deadliest clashes between the military and the MILF in recent years occurred in
Al-Barka. On 10 July 2007, 23 marines were killed in an encounter there, 14 of them beheaded. On 19 October 2011, another armed encounter resulted in over 45 casualties on both sides and 10,000 civilians displaced. This latest clash has led to a crackdown on residents in Al-Barka, including a complaint-affidavit being filed by the military against 300 unnamed residents.

According to a reliable source, the abduction of the three men comes weeks after the Armed Forces of the Philippines filed 300 “John Doe” complaint affidavits against 300 unspecified residents of Cambug village. In a “John Doe” complaint affidavit or warrant, the authorities do not specify the name of the subject of the complaint or arrest. Because such documents can be used against anyone, they have resulted in arbitrary arrest and detention.

Names: Najir Ahung, Rasdie Kasaran and Yusup Mohammad
Gender m/f: All are male

Further information on UA: 13/12 Index: ASA 35/002/2012 Issue Date: 30 January 2012

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