Forum:“Fighting Torture Impunity through Effective Implementation of the Anti-Torture Law”
Remarks by Ambassador Guy Ledoux, EU Delegation to the Philippines
26 June 2014, InterContinental Hotel, Makati City
Presidential Human Rights Committee Undersecretary Catura, DILG Undersecretary Enrile, DoJ Undersecretary Baraan, CHR Commissioner Mamauag, PNP Human Rights Affairs Office chief Viernes, AFP Human Rights Office Col. Motril, MAG Chairman Dr. Tan, distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies & gentlemen. Good afternoon.
Let me first express my gratitude to the organisers, the Medical Action Group and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, for their commitment and for inviting me to speak at today's event which marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
60 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which put an absolute ban on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under any circumstances, today's event is important to re-emphasize the issue's relevance and importance as torture persists around the world. There is the need to raise awareness regarding this issue, to mobilise support for victims and to create a general understanding of respect for human dignity within society and all institutions.
It is recognised that positive gains have been made by the Administration in its effort to stop the practice of torture in the Philippines and non-state organisation and civil society are playing an important role towards the elimination of torture.
Let me especially note the significant improvement in the legal environment for torture prevention in the Philippines – and in the first place the enactment ofthe Anti-Torture Law in 2009 as important milestones. I am glad to note the efforts of the Commission on Human Rights to monitor torture cases and that the Oversight Committee is now convening regularly. I acknowledge in particular CHR's efforts of taking the necessary steps to address the legal and medical concerns of the victims in coordination with our partner Medical Action Group.I cannot emphasise enough the good example CHR and MAG are showing to jointly address a specific human rights issue and I hope that this cooperation will continue.
The European Union reiterated its commitment to promote human rights and to eliminate torture during a forum, “End Torture in the Philippines” with the Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) held in Makati City. This event took place to mark the "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture".
"Torture is not only a tragedy for its victims – it is also degrading for those who perpetrate it, and inevitably it harms the welfare of societies which tolerate such outrages", EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said.
It is recognised that positive gains have been made by the Aquino administration in its efforts to stop the practice of torture in the Philippines. There is a need to end the culture of impunity by bringing perpetrators to justice and to encourage all stakeholders to double their collective efforts. "While a significant improvement to the legal environment in torture prevention in the Philippines through the enactment of the Anti-Torture Law in 2009 can be noted, much still needs to be done to implement it and hold those responsible for torture cases accountable", he said.