Torture in the Philippines was among the primary focuses of the United Nations Human Rights Council during the country’s Universal Periodic Review yesterday.
More than 15 states focused on torture in their recommendations to improve human rights in the Philippines. These recommendations include:
- that the Government of the Philippines effectively implements the 2009 Anti-Torture Act, with a particular focus on ensuring that all investigations and prosecutions of allegations of torture and ill-treatment fully cover the possibility of command responsibility as stipulated in section 13 of the Act; and that all alleged victims of torture and ill-treatment have effective access to a medical evaluation of their injuries by institutionalising the use of the Istanbul Protocol, including by providing guidelines to judges, prosecutors, forensic doctors and medical personnel dealing with detained persons, to detect and document physical and psychological trauma of torture;
- that the Government of the Philippines effectively implement the anti torture act with a special focus on responsibility of superior officers, access to a medical examination and the establishment of a sufficiently resourced rehabilitation programme for torture victims.
One of the main objectives of the second cycle of the UPR is to follow up to recommendations from the first UPR cycle; another objective is to ensure that recommendations are increasingly concrete and focused to promote implementation and facilitate monitoring and evaluation of these efforts.
The IRCT would like to commend the governments of Denmark and Ireland for making clear, concrete and focused recommendations that are highly pertinent to the specific domestic context of the Philippines, and which, if accepted and implemented, will make a real difference for access to justice and rehabilitation for torture victims in the Philippines.
The IRCT also welcomes the constructive approach taken by the Government of the Philippines to the UPR as clearly shown in its initiative to establish a multi-stakeholder mechanism to monitor implementation of UPR recommendations. The IRCT encourages the Government of the Philippines to accept all recommendations pertaining to torture and ill-treatment without delay so that the important national implementation work can commence immediately.
The Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, is a new mechanism of the United Nations to review the human rights record of all 192 member countries every four years. The Human Rights Council conducts these reviews, which result in recommendations to the state under review of ways in which they shall improve the country’s human rights situation.