Thursday, June 28, 2012

Soldiers Run Against Torture

From the Website of Armed Forces of the Philippines

Soldiers Run Against Torture

 CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – To commemorate the 2012 United Nations’ “International Day in Support of Torture Victims”, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in partnership with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC) will participate in, and host the culminating program of the Advocacy Run, “Basta Run Against Torture”, tomorrow at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Grandstand.

Two hundred runners from the three Major Services (Army, Air Force, Navy), GHQ and Headquarters Support Command, and AFP Wide Support Service Units will join tomorrow’s advocacy run.

The CHR jointly spearheads the activity with the UATC. Among the prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in this partnership are the Task Forces Detainees; Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates; Amnesty International-Philippines; and Balay Rehabilitation Center. The AFP through the AFP Human Rights Office (HRO) has been engaging said organizations in its public affairs efforts on matters related to Human Rights – International Humanitarian Law – Rule of Law (HR-IHL-ROL).

The International Day in Support of Torture Victims is an annual activity reaffirming a common resolve among stakeholders in combating torture, taking a collective practical step towards ending this crime (with reference to RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009), and raising the awareness and commitment in resolving this form of ill-treatment.

The AFP, along with the different human rights groups and organizations will assemble 6:00 AM tomorrow at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Building. From there, they will sprint along the south bound lane of EDSA Avenue until they reach the end point at the GHQ, AFP Grandstand where a simple program will follow. The Chairman of the CHR, Loretta Ann P. Rosales will be tomorrow’s guest of honor and speaker as she will deliver her inspirational/solidarity message.

Last year, the CHR and UATC lauded the AFP for actively participating in the 2011 advocacy run, and for clearly manifesting the military’s keen desire and efforts to put an end to acts of torture in partnership with them. UATC also praised the AFP as it played an active role in the former’s efforts to manifest the armed forces’ undertakings to curb and/or eradicate torture in line with the Strategic Approaches and Imperatives of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.

This year’s activity is more pronounced with the recent signing by the Philippines of the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) on April 2012. The OPCAT is a set of rules to which the signatories agree to reaffirm that torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited and constitute serious violations of human rights.

In the spirit of tomorrow’s celebration, the AFP vows to continue its constant participation in various HR-IHL-ROL advocacies and activities along with the different government agencies, NGOs and CSOs. This is line with AFP’s campaign for the protection and promotion of Human Rights.

In line with this, the AFPHRO is also very active in teaching AFP personnel assigned in garrisons and in the field about local laws such as the R.A. 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity; R.A. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009;  R.A. 7438 or the act defining the rights of arrested, detained or persons under custody as well as the duties of the arresting, detaining and investigating officers; and Rule 113 under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Consistent with the whole-of-nation and multi-stakeholder principles of the IPSP Bayanihan, the AFPHRO has been closely coordinating with other government agencies, human rights advocacy groups and Local Government Units (LGUs) to spread the military's advocacy on Human Rights.

“We are one with all other government agencies and human rights advocacy groups and organizations in commemorating the International Day in Support of Torture Victims. It has been one of the AFP’s commitments to eagerly participate in these kinds of undertaking as it further promotes the protection and upholding of the Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and the Rule of law,” AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa said.

“For our part, the AFP will continue to strengthen our Human Rights and IHL advocacies. We will also continue to strengthen our Human Rights Office which has been replicated in all levels of commands in order to address human rights issues and concerns as we intend to foster a culture of human rights within our ranks,” Dellosa added.

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