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Philippines

    September 30, 2016

    Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest outburst, where he likened himself to Hitler and vowed to “slaughter” three million people, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With this latest outburst, President Duterte has sunk to new depths. Governments - both in the region and around the world – should speak out immediately and condemn these outrageous statements. The words President Duterte used are not just extremely distasteful, they are extremely dangerous. They serve no discernible purpose other than to put more lives at risk.

    “Since coming to power, there has been a surge of state-sanctioned violence and unlawful killings across the Philippines. Instead of stopping and condemning these human rights violations, and ensuring those responsible are held to account, he has vowed to escalate them. Mass killing under President Duterte must end.”

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    May 10, 2016

    If President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is serious about introducing change in the Philippines, he must turn his back on the history of human rights violations and end the prevailing culture of impunity, Amnesty International said today.

    Rodrigo Duterte, the former Mayor of Davao city, is set to become the newly-elected President of the Philippines after leading the voting in the 9 May 2016 election. Duterte’s principal rivals have conceded defeat.

    “If Rodrigo Duterte is serious about bringing change to the Philippines, he should address the dire human rights situation in the country and put an end to extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests, secret detention as well as torture and other ill-treatment,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South East Asia.

    During the course of the presidential election campaign, Duterte has issued a series of inflammatory statements that, if enacted, would contravene the Philippines’ international human rights obligations, including his promise to reduce crime rates by shooting suspected criminals.

    April 01, 2016

    A historic ruling by a Philippines court this week in which a police officer was convicted of torturing bus driver Jerryme Corre plants a seed of hope that the tide may be turning against impunity for perpetrators of torture, Amnesty International said today.

    It is first under the country’s 2009 Anti-Torture Act, and follows a three-year campaign by Amnesty International. The organization took up Jerryme Corre’s case in December 2013 – one year after his arrest – in its global Stop Torture campaign.

    “Jerryme has spent more than four years in prison while under trial on trumped-up charges against him, after suffering horrific torture at the hands of the police. The conviction of the officer involved sends a clear message that the torture must stop and that the perpetrators will be brought to book,” said Champa Patel, Director at Amnesty International’s South East Asia Regional Office.

    December 08, 2015

    The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights convened a second inquiry on Amnesty International’s ‘Above The Law: Torture in the Police’ report launched in December 2014 following a resolution passed in January to respond to the evidence included in the report regarding widespread torture in the Philippine National Police.

    “Amnesty International welcomes this positive step by the Senate to convene these hearing towards ending the use of torture in the Philippines.Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s concern about the zero conviction rate on cases of torture, six years after the anti-torture law was passed, and the need to address the weakness within the Philippines justice system is reassuring,’ said Josef Roy Benedict, Amnesty International South East Asia Deputy Director for Campaigns.

    “However it is disappointing to hear that the Philippine National Police have yet to review Amnesty International’s report and recommendations a year after it was published. This raises serious questions about their willingness to address and eradicate torture within the police force,” he added.

    June 18, 2015
    In 2012, Dave, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested, accused o

    In 2012, Dave Enriquez, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested and accused of stealing two roosters. In the police station, Dave, who suffers from intellectual disabilities, wasn’t allowed to contact his lawyer or family. Instead, four policemen beat Dave with a wooden paddle, pounded his fingers with a stapler and banged his head against the metal gate of his cell.

    Dave has been since been released, however, a complaint filed against the police, with support from the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, was dismissed by the prosecutor’s office. No one has been held responsible.

    In recent years reports of torture have risen dramatically in the Philippines, but to date not one torture survivor has obtained justice. The few victims who do manage to initiate proceedings against their torturers find themselves confronted with a dauntingly complex criminal and administrative complaints system.

    March 10, 2015

    By Gemma Regina Cunanan, Director of Amnesty Philippines 5 March

    On 16 February, Jerryme Corre celebrated his birthday, joined by his wife and Amnesty Philippines staff at Angeles City Jail. Jerryme has spent the last three years imprisoned there after police allegedly tortured him into a confession. Gemma Regina Cunanan, Director of Amnesty Philippines, describes the day.

      "I can never give enough thanks. These [letters] give me strength. It also gives courage to my wife. We are not alone in this fight. Many people also seek justice for us."   Jerryme Corre

    When Jerryme walked out to meet us on Monday at Angeles City Jail, his smile was wide.  Our team from Manila had brought thousands of letters from all over the world – and a cake. 

    January 26, 2015

                                      New video spoofs “wheel of torture”

    One year ago this week, the revelation that Philippine police in Laguna had used a “wheel of torture” to decide how to torture detainees shocked the world. But despite the global headlines, one year later no one has been held to account – a sad indictment of the police’s casual attitude towards torture and the almost complete impunity that surrounds it.

    To mark the anniversary, Amnesty International has produced Torture: More fun in the Philippines, a short satirical film based on a popular TV game show. One contestant spins the “wheel of torture” to try to get a lawyer, but instead “wins” the prize of being punched for 30 seconds straight. The film’s title is used ironically – “More fun in the Philippines” is also the slogan of the country’s Tourism Board.

    January 14, 2015

    By Sister Maria Vida Cordero, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Amnesty International Philippines

    This week, people across the Philippines are incredibly excited about the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis.

    Not only is this the first papal visit to our country in two decades, but Pope Francis has already inspired millions of people across the globe – Catholics and non-Catholics alike – with his message of hope, mercy and compassion for the world’s poorest people.

    One of the issues that Pope Francis has spoken out about strongly and clearly continues to blight the Philippines – torture. Last year he condemned torture as a “very grave sin”.

    His Holiness has repeatedly urged governments around the world to stamp out this abhorrent practice and “invite[s] Christians to commit themselves to work together for its abolition and to support victims and their families.”

    January 12, 2015

    An inquiry into police torture in the Philippine Senate this week is a welcome opportunity to put a stop to torture by members of the national police and to end the pervasive culture of impunity that reinforces it, Amnesty International said.

    The joint hearing between the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Public Order, which will take place on Wednesday 14 January, was announced as a direct result of Amnesty International’s report on police torture in the Philippines, Above the law, launched in December 2014.

    “This hearing could be a first step towards tackling the endemic torture that we are seeing in the Philippines. Practically no one in police detention is safe from this abhorrent practice, and officers continue to get away with it without consequences,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, who will be testifying at the hearing.

    December 09, 2014

    Alfreda Disbarro has shown enormous courage. She was tortured repeatedly by police in the Philippines following her arrest in October 2013. Alfreda was punched in her stomach and face, hit with a club, had fingers poked in her eyes, slapped, was forced to eat a mop and had her head banged against the wall. She was in such pain in the days that followed the beatings that she couldn’t eat, had difficulty breathing and kept vomiting.

    But Alfreda made the courageous decision to speak up, and her story has helped to lead to change.  Alfreda Disbarro has been the focus of massive campaigning by Amnesty International to stop torture.  She and her family have expressed their thanks for what Amnesty has done by highlighting her case.

    December 04, 2014

    The Philippine Senate’s decision to open an inquiry today into widespread police torture in the country is a promising development in the battle against impunity, Amnesty International said.

    “This inquiry is a welcome first step towards tackling entrenched impunity within the Philippine police force,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, speaking from Manila.

    “The government’s next step should be two truly independent systems, one for monitoring places of detention and one unified and effective institution to investigate and prosecute police abuse.”

    The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights passed the resolution opening the inquiry in response to evidence contained in an Amnesty International report, Above the Law: Police Torture in the Philippines, which launched in Manila earlier today. The report found that police have tortured hundreds of detainees with total impunity.

    The police force itself tried to play down its failures, citing an incorrect figure to understate the number of torture complaints made to the Philippine Commission for Human Rights in 2013.

    December 03, 2014

    Posted at 0400hrs GMT 4 December 2014

    A pervasive culture of impunity is allowing torture by police to go unchecked in the Philippines, Amnesty International’s latest report, Above the Law: Police Torture in the Philippines, revealed today as it launched a major new campaign to stop torture in the country.

    Despite the country’s ratification of the two key international anti-torture treaties, methods such as electrocution, mock executions, waterboarding, asphyxiating with plastic bags, beatings and rape continue to be employed by officers who torture for extortion and to extract confessions.

    “Too many police officers in the Philippines are all gun and no badge - abusing their power while making a mockery of their duty to protect and serve the people,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in Manila for the launch of the campaign.

    “The government has the legislation in place, now it needs to enforce it or risk the police placing themselves above the law.”

    November 22, 2014

    Releasesd 0:01 GMT 23 November 2013

    The Philippine authorities are running out of time to ensure that their response to the Maguindanao massacre does not become a mockery of justice, Amnesty International said on the fifth anniversary of what is often called the world’s largest-ever single attack on journalists.

    On 23 November 2009, 58 people, including 32 journalists and other media workers, were killed when an election convoy came under attack by more than 100 armed men, allegedly including members of the police and the military. The convoy had been travelling in the southern province of Maguindanao, through the territory of the powerful Ampatuan clan.

    “Justice delayed is justice denied. Five years after the Maguindanao massacre, the cases are still inching through the Philippine court system and not a single person has been held to account,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Philippines Researcher.

    Almost half the 197 suspects for whom arrest warrants have been issued since the massacre remain at large. Meanwhile, no prosecution has been concluded, nor has any perpetrator been convicted.

    November 10, 2014

    Philippine authorities are failing to tackle torture as not a single perpetrator has been convicted under a landmark anti-torture law that came into effect five years ago today, despite evidence that the practice is prevalent, Amnesty International said.

    The Anti-Torture Act, passed on 10 November 2009,recognized torture as a separate crime and provided a number of important guarantees to aid torture survivors seeking redress. But no one has been convicted under the Act and very few cases have reached the prosecution stage.

    “Five years without a single torture survivorobtaining justice shows that this law, which could make a genuine difference towards ending torture in the Philippines, risks becoming nothing but a piece of paper. The government must step up to its commitment to stamp out torture once and for all,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    September 11, 2014
    A torture wheel, discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Torture is endemic in the Philippines. Police officers in the Philippines tortured Jerryme Corre, a bus driver, in what could be a case of mistaken identity. Jerryme is still in prison awaiting justice. Alfreda Disbarro was arrested and tortured while in custody at a police station. Her torturers have yet to be held to account. And earlier this year, a “wheel of torture” was discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines. Detainees were forced to spin the wheel, and whatever form of torture the arrow landed on was inflicted on them.

    How has torture become so widespread in the Philippines? Because authorities have turned a blind eye and allowed it to become endemic. But two recent events provide hope that things can change.
     

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