Medical doctors presses for right to rehabilitation of victims of torture

Press release

November 11, 2015

Medical doctors presses for right to rehabilitation of victims of torture

Around eighty (80) medical doctors across the country gathered today in the Scientific Conference on the Management and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims on November 11-12, 2015 at the Ciudad Christia Resort, in San Mateo, Rizal.

The conference also entitled, Mainstreaming Human Rights in Health Care, is being organized by the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Department of Health (DOH). This will highlight current initiatives being implemented in the Philippines to promote right to rehabilitation of torture victims (survivors).

Attending the conference are city and municipal health officers who has an essential role in preventing torture by effective medical documentation of torture cases and they are among the first persons to come into contact with a torture victim or survivor after alleged torture incident.

“There is a need to raise awareness and level of knowledge of doctors in government service on Republic Act No. 9745 otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Law The law details what constitute torture and ill treatment, the doctors’ legal obligations specifically the documentation and medical reporting of alleged victims of torture or ill treatment, and the mechanics of effective referral among agencies concerned in the daunting task of holistic rehabilitation,” said Dr. Criselda G. Abesamis, Director IV, DOH Health Facility Development Bureau.

DOH Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo stressed in order to ensure effective redress for victims of torture entails the duty to provide rehabilitation for victims through institutionalization of the use of the Istanbul Protocol or the UN Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, develop protocol in the treatment of torture victims based on the Istanbul Protocol particularly through effective implementation of the DOH Administrative Order No. 2013-0008 Guidelines for the implementation of Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Torture Law, upgrade of laboratory facilities of the DOH and other health facilities, and ensure effective referral mechanism.


“Despite the country has the Anti-Torture Law but we have cases and first-hand experiences uncovering its limitation and flaw which undermines the right of the survivors to medical care and rehabilitation,” Dr. Marie Therese C. Galang, MAG Chairperson added.

Galang concluded this conference which will tackle the growing challenges on rehabilitation confronting the torture survivors is significant on our part to learn from experiences of medical doctors in their day to day work in the treatment of torture survivors and in promoting right to rehabilitation of victims of torture.

The conference press the government that effective rehabilitation services and programs are established in the country and are accessible to all torture victims and survivors, as government’s obligation under the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. -end-