Council Members of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), representing health professionals and other relevant professionals who provide multidisciplinary rehabilitation for victims and survivors of torture throughout the world, gathered at the Annual Council Meeting in London, United Kingdom, 9 and 10 November 2011, are alarmed by the level of violence, including torture, that currently occurs in all regions of the world and specially in situations of conflict and social unrest, and that is often related to poverty, defined as a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other human rights.
The Medical Action Group (MAG) is a health and human rights organizations which envisions a society where fundamental human rights are upheld at protected at all times in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). MAG is a member of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines.
The right to reparation for victims of a wrongful act is a well-established principle of international law. This obligation also applies in respect to international human rights and humanitarian law. Rehabilitation is a very practical form of assistance for victims of torture. It is widely acknowledged, amongst those working in this field, within the human rights community, and amongst torture survivors themselves, that rehabilitation services are most effective when they combine a variety of multidisciplinary inputs: medical and psychological interventions, together with complementary psychosocial, legal and social services.
This understanding is also reflected in the Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009.
Manila, Feb. 16 – Quezon City resounded with the call for sincerity and transparency in the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Norway, as a civil society movement on Tuesday marched the busy Elliptical Road from Philcoa to QC Memorial Circle, armed with bells, gongs and banners.
Called the “Manindigan para sa Peace Talks” (Stand Up for Peace Talks), the civil society group is composed of peace advocates, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations, and was launched in time for the resumption of the GPH-NDF peace negotiations in Oslo. The negotiations is under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Government, which has been acting as Third Party Facilitator since 2001.
“We’ve noticed in the past that the peace process doesn’t have much organized support from the civil society,” said Joeven Reyes, executive director of Sulong CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law), one of the groups that joined Manindigan. “This is why we are launching this movement. We want more voices to be heard, and we are united by our call for transparency in the peace talks.”
Sister Arnold Maria Noel, SSps seconded Reyes by saying that transparency should be of utmost importance in the resumption of the peace talks, especially since past negotiations have been burdened by setbacks because they were held without listening to the people’s voices.
“We believe that peace is our right and peace building is the responsibility of all. The resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDF offers an opportunity to come to terms with the country’s best interests and work for peace that had eluded us for so long,” said Sr. Noel.
A human rights group said the Philippine government might be able to submit to a United Nations body a “near-empty" report card on the progress of its compliance with an agreement against torture and other inhuman acts.
“We have seen that not much progress can be reported with regards to the compliance of the Philippine government with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines said in a statement.
Also, it said the country has failed to comply with a set of recommendations the UN made on how to prevent torture and other cruel treatment in the country.
The group said that in its alternative report to the UN Committee Against Torture, it indicated the use of torture is widespread in the country.