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News

June 26, 2014

Press release

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.

World - travel advice on MERS-CoV for pilgrimages

World Health Organization interim travel advice on MERS-CoV for pilgrimages to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

25 July 2013

I. Introduction

An outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first reported in 2012, has affected nine countries to date. WHO is coordinating the global response to this emerging virus according to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). This paper provides guidance to national authorities of countries from which pilgrims will be travelling in the coming months for Umra and Hajj for the prevention, detection and management of imported cases of MERS-CoV. At this time, the risk to an individual pilgrim of contracting MERS-CoV is considered very low.

II. Effective communication of risk information

It is important for countries to use all practical and effective means possible to communicate information on a range of issues before, during and after Umra and Hajj to all key groups, including the following:

  • travellers to Umra and Hajj, particularly vulnerable groups within this population;
  • public health officials;
  • health care staff responsible for the care of ill pilgrims;
  • public transportation and tourism industries; and
  • the general public.

WHO statement
5 May 2014

The Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) [IHR (2005)] was held by teleconference on Monday 28 April 2014 from 13:30 to 17:30 Geneva time (CET) and on Tuesday 29 April 2014 from 13:30 to 19:00 Geneva time (CET).

Members of the Emergency Committee and expert advisors to the Committee met on both days of the meeting.1 The following affected States Parties participated in the informational session of the meeting on Monday 28 April 2014: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic.

During the informational session, the WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of recent progress in stopping endemic and imported polioviruses and the international spread of wild polioviruses in 2014 as of 26 April. The above affected States Parties presented on recent developments in their countries.

After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, and in the context of the global polio eradication initiative, the Committee advised that the international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States for which a coordinated international response is essential. The current situation stands in stark contrast to the near-cessation of international spread of wild poliovirus from January 2012 through the 2013 low transmission season for this disease (i.e. January to April). If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases. It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have been met.

 

UATC Support Statement on

Amnesty International’s Global Campaign Against Torture

13 May 2014

Empowering the Torture Victims is a key in Fighting Impunity

Torture is an affront to human life and dignity that cannot be justified under any circumstances in any parts of the world.

The United Against Torture Coalition – Philippines (UATC) restates its commitments to fight against torture and end impunity by upholding the basic human rights and dignity of every individual as it joins the Amnesty International in the launching of the Global Campaign Against Torture.

The global campaign, which will be carried out through holding of series of public events, is aimed to remind all States including the Philippine government of their obligations to respect and guarantee the right of every person to be free from torture and ill-treatment, to effectively bring those responsible to justice, and to guarantee reparative measures to victims and their families.

The UATC- Philippines laments that the practice of torture continue to occur in a widespread and systematic manner everywhere in the world. The Philippines is no exemption. Despite the enactment a domestic law criminalizing torture in 2009 which is purportedly aimed at ending impunity and giving meaning to the Convention Against Torture to which the Philippines is state party since June 1986, torture is continuously being committed by government authorities or agents of the state particularly the police and the military usually to punish, to obtain information or a confession, to take revenge on a person or persons, and to sow terror and fear not only to victims but also to their families and the larger society.

Press release

May 11, 2014

 

Church, human rights groups call on PNoy to act on killing of farmer leader, stop violence in Hacienda Dolores

In support of seeking justice for the widow of Menelao “Ka Melon” Barcia, the Archdiocese of Pampanga, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), and various human rights groups call on the attention of the government by showing concrete action to stop the violence in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga.

Ka Melon, 57 years old, was driving to his house in his owner type jeep with his wife and niece on May 2, 2014 in the evening, when he was ambushed in Purok 3, Barangay Manibaug Paralaya in Porac, Pampanga, and shot at close range by still an unidentified individual. Based on reports, he was hit at the neck, lost control of the jeep and bumped a parked truck. The assailant followed up and shot him four times on the chest, which killed him instantly. Ka Melon’s wife was also hit with gunshots in her extremities that need surgery. His niece was not hurt in the attack.

Ka Melon, a barangay kagawad of Barangay Hacienda Dolores, was also one of the leaders of the Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANIBAN), a group that claims ownership of Hacienda Dolores by virtue of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). At the time of the attack, Ka Melon was reportedly carrying documents relating to agrarian dispute which he was supporting and assisting on behalf of farmers and their families in claiming and defending their right to land and livelihood in Hacienda Dolores for the past 57 years.