The Philippines prepare visit by UN torture prevention body

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Philippines ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in 2012. Now, three years later, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has announced its plans to visit the country from 25 May to 3 June 2015.

The SPT will conduct regular monitoring visits to places of detention but also assist in the National Preventive Mechanism law process. The NPM bill was drafted in May 2014 and has since then been revised and submitted to the House of Representatives. It is now up to the legislatures to ensure that the bill finally passes.

Human rights organisations in the Philippines are busy preparing for the SPT visit. On 17 March the APT took part in a national orientation meeting in Manila, with some 60 participants from government ministries, law enforcement agencies, the Human Rights Commission, civil society and university students.

Apart from discussing the SPT visit, the meeting also included a presentation by Ricardo Sunga on the findings from the Philippines’ country study in the APT commissioned global research on torture prevention.

Participants welcomed the SPT visit as part of the country’s obligation under the OPCAT to improve conditions in places of detention in the Philippines. Many also saw the visit as a source of motivation to the on-going process to adopt the NPM bill.