MANILA – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) hosted the second Asia Pacific Colloquium to provide a better understanding on how to conduct law enforcement operations as humanely as possible.
In a statement Friday, the PNP Public Information Office said the conference held in Makati City from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 was joined by local and foreign delegates from police agencies of 12 countries in the Asia Pacific Region.
After being postponed for the past three years due to the pandemic and consequent health restrictions, this year’s humanitarian dialogue was held with the theme, “Law Enforcement and Reducing Humanitarian Risks in the Early Stages of Detention”.
Maj. Gen. Michael John Dubria, acting chief of the PNP directorial staff, represented PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, who is attending another international forum in France.
“We have increased the number of scheduled and surprise inspections of PNP custodial facilities nationwide as part of our anti-torture strategy. This is to ensure that persons under police custody are treated in a humane and dignified manner and to uphold their individual rights pursuant to human rights standards and existing laws,” Dubria said in his message during the opening ceremony.
Dubria said all police personnel has also been re-oriented on the obligation to inform all persons arrested, detained, or under custodial investigation about their rights under the law including their inalienable and non-derogable right to be free from torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.
“More than just responding to the requirements of human rights laws, we are here to jointly express our firm commitment to uphold the rights of all persons, including persons deprived of liberty, simply because we all need to preserve our inherent dignity and value as human beings,” Dubria added.
Some of the objectives of the event are to increase understanding among senior policymakers of the humanitarian challenges arising during the early stages of detention develop an awareness of the causes of high-risk behavior and look at strategies to reduce this in participants’ own contexts; promote mutual understanding between ICRC colleagues and participants; and to set the conditions for operational and policy dialogue between the ICRC and states to share approaches to reduce humanitarian impact even in sensitive areas.
The five-day event participated in by police organizations from the Asia-Pacific region aims to facilitate a discussion among specialists at a policy or planning level on the risks associated with the early stages of detention, to share policies, existing challenges, practical mitigation strategies, and lessons from the Asia-Pacific region.
The first conference, co-organized by the ICRC and the Ecuadorian National Police, was held on Sept. 14 to 16, 2016, in Quito and was attended by 27 senior officers from 13 countries that covered topics such as “use of force in the maintenance of public order” and “consequences of the use of firearms in the line of duty”. (PNA)