The UN Committee against Torture has expressed concern over the persistence of impunity for acts of torture despite the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in 2009 in the Philippines. It noted that only one perpetrator has been convicted considering the rising number of torture cases compiled by the Commission on Human Rights six years after torture was declared a criminal offense.
A minor died while another young boy and an adult farmer were seriously injured reportedly as a result of unlawful violence they suffered in the hands of soldiers in the municipality of Tipo-Tipo in Basilan. The incident happened on April 12, 2016 in the midst of the military combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf group that were involved in the recent kidnappings and killings of civilian hostages in southern Philippines.
The United against Torture Coalition (UATC) has called attention on the non-conviction of torturers and the weak implementation of the Anti-Torture Act six years since it was enacted in 2009. The coalition raised this observation, among other issues, during the 57th session of the United Nations Committee on Torture at Palais Wilson in Geneva on April 27, 2015.
The Balay Rehabilitation Center has asked the tough-talking president-apparent Rodrigo Duterte to be mindful of what he says following his proposal to impose death by hanging as a penalty to curtail the rampant criminality in the country. The human rights group also raised grave concern that the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy of the former Davao Mayor is a threat to the right to life and can open the flood gates for abuse by law enforcers and trigger the disregard for the rule of law.
For many decades now, the communities in many parts of Mindanao have repeatedly experienced armed conflict and militarization resulting to their forced evacuation and displacement from their homelands. Thousands of indigenous peoples, pastoralists, and land tillers in other parts of the country have also been involuntarily separated from their farms and ancestral domain due to social violence and intrusion of exploitative big business and extractive industries. Moreover, the recurrence of extreme weather events and destructive geological and oceanic phenomenon aggravated by climate change have made many communities vulnerable to producing more “disaster IDPs” in the country.