MANILA – The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights is set to start working next year with the United Nations (UN) Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) to craft and pass a National Preventive Mechanism against torture.
This is a result of a "fruitful dialogue" between the UN Subcommittee representatives and Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday.
Tolentino told reporters that they were able to come up processes to push for the measure as a compliance of the country to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
OPCAT is a UN Treaty, which the Philippines is also a signatory, that aims to prevent torture and ill-treatment in all places where people are, or may be, deprived of their liberty
"Ikoco-sponsor na namin. Meron ng isang naka-file para po sa January ay tumakbo na po yung proseso at maka-comply tayo sa requirement ng United Nations Convention Against Torture. So, ito po ay napakahalaga (We will co-sponsor this. We already have one filed so that on January, we can run the process and comply with the requirement of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. So, this is very important)," Tolentino said.
"Come January, they will assist. They have promised us that they will be resource persons during the hearings to be conducted by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights," he added.
The SPT first visited the country in 2015 and came back this time to assess how authorities have implemented the recommendations of the previous visit.
"We're here to work with the state party to engage in constructive dialogue, to help and assist to fullfill the international obligations in relation to prevention of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment," said Aisha Shujune Muhammad, one of the SPT delegates.
Their visit, which is until Dec. 14, will conclude by presenting its confidential preliminary observations to the Government of the Philippines. (PNA)