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MAG envisions a society where fundamental human rights are upheld and protected at all times in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

News

MAG Statement

June 29, 2020

 

All forms of discrimination against Health Workers must end NOW!

It is been more than a month since the Medical Action Group (MAG) issued a statement calling out against all forms of discriminatory treatments towards health workers amid the Covid 19 pandemic. Based on its monitoring from March to June 2020, there are already more than a hundred health workers who have experienced discrimination such eviction from their rented apartment, refusal to convey for transportation, avoided publicly and denied entry to diner. There was also a news report of physical attack such as the case of a hospital utility staff worker from Sultan Kudarat who was doused with bleach on the face while on the way to work.

Despite undertaking life-saving work for little pay, our health workers are now suffering from humiliation, abuse and threat due to public fear of infection. The most recent report came from a nurse in Quezon City, who spoke up on social media about the alleged illegal detention imposed against them by the building administrator of the condominium she and three others are renting. Based on her account, they have been restricted by the building administrator from leaving their condominium unit when one of them was tested positive of coronavirus. Despite their assurances that they are following strict health protocols and the rest of them have been tested negative, the building administrator still refused to lift the restriction and continuously barred them from going out. She also claimed that she already missed her hospital duty for two days.

MAG has already condemned the continuing stigmatization and discrimination against our health heroes and reiterated its call on the authorities to put a stop to these despicable acts. While we commend on the efforts of the local government units by passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect the health workers and other frontliners against all forms of discrimination. But any law is only good as its implementation.  What we need is the full enforcement.

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United Against Torture Coalition (UATC) - Philippines

Press Release

26 June 2020

  

Torture free Philippines should be the “new normal”

Today 26 June[1], the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines, a broad network of human rights organizations and human rights defenders together with its partners, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), are one with the world in commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and in contributing to the campaign for the absolute prohibition of torture in all corners of the world.

On this day in 1987, the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect. The Philippines[2] acceded to this Convention on 18 June 1986.

Torture is an unequivocal crime. Under the UN Convention against Torture, it is prohibited under all circumstances, without exception.  Yet torture is still commonplace and systematically being practiced by many States including the Philippines in the conduct of custodial investigation under the guise of combatting terrorism, curbing criminality, and maintaining peace and order, which risk eroding constitutional and other legal protections.  While the Philippines is considered one of its kind in Asia for criminalizing torture as a specific criminal offense with the passage of the Anti-Torture Act in 2009[3], however the Philippine government failed to fully and effectively implement the law with reported cases of torture and ill treatment continue unabated.

PUBLIC STATEMENT

JUNE 5, 2020

ANTI-TERROR LAW WILL MAKE "TORTURE" A NEW NORMAL

We, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC), the broadest network of civil society organizations and individuals working for the prevention of torture in the Philippines, vehemently condemn the treacherous imminent approval of the new Anti-Terror law that may institutionalize the use of torture and ill treatment in the name of counter-terrorism.

The enactment of the new Anti-Terror Law amid public health emergency due to Covid 19 pandemic shows not only the lack of concern of the Philippine government with the plight of the Filipinos especially the poor who are hardest hit by the Covid 19 pandemic, but also its propensity to suppress political dissent and infringe on fundamental freedoms and human rights including the non-derogable right against torture and ill treatment. The railroading of its passage tramples upon the basic principle of democratic policymaking where all stakeholders are amply heard to ensure that law will serve and protect the governed not the governing.

The enrolled Anti-Terror bill which is just awaiting the President’s signature repeals the Human Security Act of 2007. Several of its provisions breach not only international human rights standards but also basic constitutional safeguards against human rights violations. It allows warrantless arrests and detention from the current maximum of three days to 14 days, extendible for another 10 days. This critical period during which forced confessions may be extracted can put a detainee at great risk of torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, and even summary execution.

HROnlinePH Statement on Defending the Freedom of Expression (FoE) in times of public emergency

12 April, 2020

SHOUT OUT and NEVER HOLD BACK

Shutting our mouth can’t prevent us from voicing our opinion.

While drastic times may call for drastic steps, any emergency measures particularly responding to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic must be necessary, proportionate, and should have the minimal possible impact on human rights especially on the right to freedom of expression.

Instead of targeting critics, stifling dissent and imposing restriction to the flow of information and dissemination, the Philippine government should focus primarily on protecting the right to health of all through the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

The freedom of expression which is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas is considered as the indispensable precondition for the exercise of other rights and freedoms. It is only when the people have access to information that they can be capable of rendering responsible opinion and decision.

MAG Statement

March 26, 2020

 

What a disgrace

Discriminating the health workers who are in the frontline in the battle against Covid 19 out of fear and ignorance is outrageous and should be condemned.

We, the Medical Action Group, a health and human rights organization is seriously alarmed with the news report that some health workers in Iloilo City have been told to leave their boarding houses by their landlords and have even refused to eat in cafeterias due to suspicions of close contact with corona virus patients. This act is "disgraceful" and “unacceptable”. The utter lack of social value and even the debt of gratitude by many of our countrymen to those who are serving the best interest of the public calls for stricter regulation and sanction against any form of discrimination.