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Freedom from Torture Campaigns
[Urgent Appeal] Arrest and alleged torture of a 16-year old boy in Zamboanga City by members of the AFP
On Torture
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 11:59

URGENT APPEAL

Dear Friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, writes to inform you about an arrest and alleged torture of a 16-year old boy in Zamboanga City by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on September 20, 2013. He is an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Case Details

Mudzmer Abdulla, 16 years of age, was arrested along with seven other men suspected to have taken part in the siege in Zamboanga City, Philippines by the Moro National Liberation Front.

According to Mudzmer, they were all wounded when they were forced to surrender. He said that the military commanded them to put their hands over their heads and to drop flat to the ground. After, the military in boots stepped on them and tied them up with a rope. After, they were kicked and punched as they were being forced to admit being MNLF fighters.

Mudzmer claimed that one of his companions was slashed to death by one of the military personnel when he denied involvement with the MNLF. Fearing for their lives, they all admitted to be members of MNLF under duress.

He was blindfolded and taken to a venue he believes to be the Southern City College since he overheard his captors. Mudzmer was interrogated and asked about the other men. In fear, he confessed that he is originally from Sulu and was part of a certain Commander Nasser Adja’s team. His commander has already been killed by the military.

Mudzmer had shrapnel wounds in his left ankle, right knee and his thighs that needed medical attention but rather than provide him health care, he was punched in the eye, kicked on his injured knee and stabbed at his right hand.

At dawn, Mudzmer was taken to Zamboanga City Central Police Station. According to him, this is when his captors took off his blindfolds. He was put in a detention cell with other alleged members of the MNLF. He said that though he was given bread that day, he along with the other detainees, were not provided food for five days. They were only given water.

Now, Mudzmer has been transferred to the San Ramon Penal and Prison Farm. He said that he was given a dental examination to verify his age but is yet to receive the result of the test.

He said that his co-detainees inside the cell have been treating him harshly and that some even takes his share of food during mealtime.

Mudzmer said that his father, who was an MNLF member, convinced him to join a peace rally to Zamboanga City. He was promised that they will be given five thousand pesos each and that after taking part in the peace rally, they will be becoming integrees of the government. They were given an armalite rifle and an MNLF uniform before leaving Sulu for Zamboanga.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 12:08
 
Make Philippines Torture Free Zone!-UATC
On Torture
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 18:28
Make Philippines Torture Free Zone!
On its seventh year, as it marks the June 26 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, members of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines and various anti-torture advocates runs in the “Basta! Run Against Torture 7” (BRAT VII) to call on the government to make the Philippines a Torture Free Zone.
To make the Philippines a torture free zone, the UATC said “among others we need to ensure that all authorities including jail staff are fully aware of the Anti-Torture Law that reported violations will not be tolerated and will be investigated, and that perpetrators will be prosecuted.”
“While we laud the government on the enactment of the Anti-Torture Law (Republic Act No. 9745) in November 2009, but it has so far been implemented without diligence and effectiveness since many torture allegations have not been effectively investigated by authorities and detainees who are in custody do not have immediate access to legal and medical services,” Ernesto Anasarias, Executive Director of Balay Rehabilitation Center and UATC spokesperson said.
While noting that many agencies have a mandate to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment, the UATC is concerned at the high number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, the limited number of investigations carried out by the government in such cases, and the very limited number of convictions in those cases which are investigated.
The group reiterates its concerns on the increasing complaints in relation to the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law which has revealed various different deficiencies from documentation, investigation to prosecution of torture cases, which embolden perpetrators in doing acts of torture.
“The authorities’ partiality not to comply with the Anti-Torture Law runs in the ‘institutional impunity’ we have right now. Take the recent case where Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim including a senior police officer, interrogated a rape suspect in full view of the public, as Mayor Lim extracted a confession and forced the suspect to admit he had raped a woman, clearly violated the Anti-Torture Law,” Max de Mesa, Chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) claimed.
The group underscored the necessity that for the government to make the Philippines a torture free zone, it should publicly announce a clear policy of “total elimination" of all acts of torture.
The UATC-Philippines is led by Amnesty International-Philippines, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). Other human rights groups also joined the run like PAHRA and Organisation Mondiale Contra la Torture (OMCT) or World Organization Against Torture.-end
Make Philippines Torture Free Zone!
BRAT_VII_Photo_by_MAG
Photo by MAG
On its seventh year, as it marks the June 26 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, members of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines and various anti-torture advocates runs in the “Basta! Run Against Torture 7” (BRAT VII) to call on the government to make the Philippines a Torture Free Zone.
To make the Philippines a torture free zone, the UATC said “among others we need to ensure that all authorities including jail staff are fully aware of the Anti-Torture Law that reported violations will not be tolerated and will be investigated, and that perpetrators will be prosecuted.”
“While we laud the government on the enactment of the Anti-Torture Law (Republic Act No. 9745) in November 2009, but it has so far been implemented without diligence and effectiveness since many torture allegations have not been effectively investigated by authorities and detainees who are in custody do not have immediate access to legal and medical services,” Ernesto Anasarias, Executive Director of Balay Rehabilitation Center and UATC spokesperson said.
While noting that many agencies have a mandate to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment, the UATC is concerned at the high number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, the limited number of investigations carried out by the government in such cases, and the very limited number of convictions in those cases which are investigated.
The group reiterates its concerns on the increasing complaints in relation to the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law which has revealed various different deficiencies from documentation, investigation to prosecution of torture cases, which embolden perpetrators in doing acts of torture.
“The authorities’ partiality not to comply with the Anti-Torture Law runs in the ‘institutional impunity’ we have right now. Take the recent case where Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim including a senior police officer, interrogated a rape suspect in full view of the public, as Mayor Lim extracted a confession and forced the suspect to admit he had raped a woman, clearly violated the Anti-Torture Law,” Max de Mesa, Chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) claimed.
The group underscored the necessity that for the government to make the Philippines a torture free zone, it should publicly announce a clear policy of “total elimination" of all acts of torture.
The UATC-Philippines is led by Amnesty International-Philippines, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). Other human rights groups also joined the run like PAHRA and Organisation Mondiale Contra la Torture (OMCT) or World Organization Against Torture.-end
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 18:32
 
June 26 UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Basta! Run Against Torture VII
On Torture
Saturday, 22 June 2013 16:18

 

June 26 UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Basta! Run Against Torture VII
MAKE PHILIPPINES A TORTURE-FREE ZONE
Torture_free_Philippines_
I. Introduction

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) is an international human rights instrument that aims to prohibit and prevent torture and cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment around the world.  The UNCAT came into force on 26 June 1987 after 20 ratifications since its adoption by the UN General assembly on 10 Dec 1984.

This year, 26 years after the UNCAT came into force and with 153 state parties, the world has yet to rid of the continued use and practice of torture and ill-treatment.  Over recent years, there has been an assault on various fundamental rights in the context of counter terrorism, protecting national security, stopping the rise of criminality, and maintaining peace and order.  The protection against torture, an absolute and non-derogable right, provided by the treaty has been undermined - marked by a growing acceptance of torture or other ill-treatment in the context of intelligence-gathering, resort to illegal modes of detention for those suspected of involvement in terrorism, criminality and subversion, and lack of accountability for those who have authorized or committed torture and other ill-treatment. These are key challenges facing the human rights movement today.

On June 26, the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, key organizations around the  will focus on the global reaffirmation of nations and peoples to the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment as set in the UDHR and the UNCAT – reaffirmations that should be felt and experienced in the smallest and farthest of communities.

II. Background

Torture is abhorrent.  Torture is illegal.  Yet torture is inflicted on men, women and children in the Philippines and well over half the countries around the world.  Despite the universal condemnation of torture, it is still being used openly and secretly using national and international security from acts of terror as justifications for such acts. It is used to extract confession, to interrogate, to punish or to intimidate.  While governments condemn terrorist acts, it is also evident that acts of terror are happening inside detention centers and prison cells, on city streets and in remote villages.  The cruelty of torturers kills, maims, and leave scars on the body and mind that last a lifetime. The victims of torture are not just people in the hands of the torturers.  Friends, families and the wider community all suffer.  Torture even damages and distorts and the hopes of future generations.

In spite of strong provisions enshrined in the Philippine Constitution prohibiting the use of torture, its criminalization as provided for by Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Lawof 2009, and the Philippines having been a state party to the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) since 1987, the act remains widely used today. The concept of the right to be free from torture eludes the general public and disappointingly, government representatives and state security forces as well. In order to see the decline of the practice in country, it is important that all members of society become informed of this right inherent to all individuals.  All places where people are deprived of their liberty, no matter how big or small, near or far, must be placed under the lens of scrutiny to finally stop this inhumane practice.

This coming June 26, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC), spearheaded by Amnesty International Philippines (AIPH), Balay Rehabilitation Center (BALAY), Medical Action Group (MAG), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), with the support of the Commission on Human Rights and different government agencies tasked to combat torture, will once again join the international community to commemorate the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture and contribute to the global campaign to prevent and stop the practice of torture in all corners of the world as codified in the UNCAT 26 years ago.

The UATC will focus on addressing the dire need to implement RA 9745 in its fullest extent centering on prevention and accountability as two of the more important aspects of the law that need focus.  While it is imperative to ensure accountability of torturers, the group also wants the practice of torture and ill-treatment stopped in every place of detention – whether it is managed by the barangays, the police, the BJMP and other agencies – by allowing unhampered access to monitoring groups.

III. Activity: “Basta! Run Against Torture! VII (BRAT)”

BRAT_teaser_smallThe first ‘Basta! Run Against Torture (BRAT)’ was held in June 25, 2002 and served as the launching pad of the national campaign against torture of the United Against Torture Coalition’s (UATC), a network of anti-torture advocates that was organized in May of 2002.

BRAT was the brainchild Fr. Robert Reyes who eventually headed the 50-strong runners from different organizations within UATC.  The well-publicized event (covered by various radio, print and TV programs) started at the Oblation Statue in UP Diliman and ended at the Quezon city Memorial Circle to join the rest of the coalition and the media in an hour-long press conference that formally launched the concerted campaign against torture in the Philippines.

The equally successful and well-publicized event BRAT II in 2008, described as an event ‘rarely seen’ by media practitioners, gathered more than a hundred participants from the CSOs, 50 from the CHR and an unprecedented 200 from the Philippine National Police.  The event was also supported by members and secretariat of the Committees on Justice and Human Rights (with fulfilled promises of passing the anti-torture bill in the House of Representatives), and the members of the local government of Quezon City.  The run aimed to make public the condemnation of torture in the context of the war against terror and human security, preventing the use of torture through a law and the ratification of the OPCAT (which the government subsequently signed August of 2008) and holding into account perpetrators of then act.

From BRAT III to BRAT VI, the activity included the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Interior and Local government and the Presidential Human Rights Committee in its fold.  From a humble beginning of having 5o runners to carry the anti-torture banner, the event gathers almost 700 participants from the afore-mentioned organizations and agencies.
The BRAT has also contributed to milestones in the anti-torture advocacy in the country.  RA 9745 was passed in November of 2009 and the Philippines ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) in April of 2012.

This year’s BRAT will focus on the continuous and intensified campaign to make the Philippines a torture-free zoneby ensuring monitoring of all activities and practices in all detention centers – an important step to ensure the effective implementation of the law.  Aside from demanding accountability of jail officers and overseers of detention centers in ensuring that torture and ill-treatment is not practiced through formal compliance procedures and education of officers and detainees, the UATC is also proposing a more pro-active positioning in monitoring by all concerned parties with emphasis on government accountability through the community’s participation.
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 June 2013 16:32
 
OMCT and GMedia launch a new initiative of empowering journalists to report on torture
On Torture
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 17:14

Geneva, 29 October 2012

OMCT and GMedia launch a new initiative of empowering journalists to report on torture

OMCTToday the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and GMedia are launching a new initiative of empowering journalists to report on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

‘Journalists play a vital role in fostering the global rejection of torture. Reaching out to them is essential if we want to bring UN anti-torture standards home’, said Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of the OMCT. ‘For too long processes such as those before the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) have been the prominence of a selected few. We need to make them more accessible, understood and raise the interest of journalists in them from countries around the world that are examined by the Committee’, he added.

‘We are supporting journalists to understand human rights standards and mechanisms, including on torture. This partnership brings media and human rights expertise together in order to build successively a community of journalists committed against torture and serious human rights violations’, said Francesco Mochetta, Co-founder and President of Gmedia.

 
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