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Philippines: In solidarity with all victims of torture, whether by state or non-state perpretors

Thursday 27 June 2013, by siawi3

CALASAG

Source: http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article26911

IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL VICTIMS OF TORTURE, WHETHER BY STATE OR NON-STATE PERPETRATORS

(26 June 2009, UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture)

On the occasion of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture this June 26, the newly formed Committee on Accountability of Non-State Armed Groups (CALASAG) expresses its solidarity with all victims of torture, whether committed by state or non-state perpetrators. We take this occasion to strongly support the soon-to-be-passed “Anti-Torture Act of 2009,” particularly the Senate version (Senate Bill No. 1978) which is guided by the definition of torture in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court : “an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person… by any person who has custody or control over the person subjected to the said pain or suffering.”

This definition, and thus the law, will benefit not only more but all victims of torture because it is of the widest application. The torture, as defined, is regardless of the status of the perpetrator (whether state or non-state), and regardless of any purpose for the torture (such as obtaining information or a confession, or for intimidation or coercion). In the final analysis, it is the victims and their human rights that matter. “All human rights for all,” including the victims of torture. This also upholds the constitutional principle of equal protection of the law. State and non-state perpetrators of torture may be differently situated but that cannot be said of their victims, who should be given equal protection. The law is not only about the effective prosecution of perpetrators but also about the available remedies for victims.

As regards state agents having the higher responsibility to uphold the rule of law, our proposal in an earlier extended Position Statement entitled “Not Only the State : Torture and Enforced Disappearance by Non-State Armed Groups” (which we are re-issuing herewith) [1], is to make such official capacity an aggravating circumstance, not an element of the crime that would leave out non-state perpetrators – and their victims. Let us all go back to the rights-holders, all potential victims of torture.

Quezon City, Philippines, 26 June 2009.

Committee on Accountability of Non-State Armed Groups
(CALASAG)

By the Convenors :
Atty. Soliman M. Santos, Jr.
Regional Focal Point for Asia
South-South Network (SSN) on Non-State Armed Group Engagement

Robert Francis Garcia,
Secretary-General,
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH)