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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.

June 26, 2014

Fight Impunity, Demand for Accountability

Today, we, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines and various anti-torture advocates on the eight consecutive year mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture through the “Basta! Run Against Torture 8” (BRAT VIII) as we renew our resonating call to stop torture and to fight impunity.
While the UATC recognizes the significant improvement in the legal protection against torture in the Philippines, we observed that the implementation of the law and policies has not been made so far with due diligence and efficacy as torture remains prevalent and is still being committed with total impunity. Every year, we are expecting new cases to undoubtedly arise.

The Republic Act 9745, otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Law of 2009 was purportedly enacted to give a meaningful implementation for the UN Convention Against Torture which the Philippines is a state party but remains only good in paper. These observations are clearly reflected in our Torture Impunity Report that will be presented this afternoon to the relevant government agencies in a forum sponsored by the European Union.
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.