UNITED AGAINST TORTURE COALITION
26 June 2014
Stand between the tortured and the torturer, together we can stop torture – UATC
There were many wins in our long struggle against torture, until it is eradicated completely in practice however these successes remain futile, said Wilnor Papa, spokesperson of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC) and Campaign Coordinator of Amnesty International Philippines during the ‘Basta! Run Against Torture’ activity held annually on 26 June for the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Three decades after the UN Convention Against Torture was adopted, torture techniques have gone from basic methods of inflicting pain and suffering to complicated systems of secret detention and renditions.
“These methods of torture only prove that when states do not put enough safeguards against it, torture will persist whether in secret detention centers or inside closed doors upon arrest, inquest or during prison lock up. We have seen how torturers become more and more creative in their techniques as they remain unscathed for the systemic practice of torture. The discovery of a torture wheel in Laguna early this year has left us all cringing but has it tighten controls at the level of law enforcement? We need action, we need to see results.” explained Papa.
The United Against Torture Coalition (UATC) renews its resonating call to stop torture and to fight impunity. Torture remains prevalent and is still being committed with total impunity. In 1984, 155 states acceded to wiping out torture but in 2014, half of these states have reportedly been continuing the use of torture or turned a blind eye on the practice. The Anti-Torture Law of 2009 was enacted to give a meaningful implementation for the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) to which the Philippines is a state party but this remains only good in paper, UATC said in a statement.
“We are not saying that the Convention hasn’t worked. It has for countries that are taking serious responsibility. UNCAT provides an instruction manual on how to combat torture and has given the world a benchmark. Torturers are now international felons. Until the torturers are brought to justice though, much remains to be done over and beyond mere enactment of a law,” added Papa.
As the UATC continues its yearly run to speak up against torture, they called on the public to help dislodge all instruments of torture and reinstate the “Wheel of Justice” instead.
“The “Wheel of Justice” is not simply demanding for the court to take action. It goes beyond the institutional system of impunity. The “Wheel of Justice” may only turn when there is accountability, redress of grievances, prevention, safeguard and protection against abuses, respect for human rights and human rights education, provision of rehabilitation and guarantee of non- repetition. It can only be made possible through our collective action,” concluded Papa.