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ACHR Press Release
ACHR Index: PR/PHL/01/10/03
21 October 2003

President Gloria Arroyo administration accused of more human
rights violations before the UN body

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in an alternate report today to the United Nations Human Rights Committee accused President Gloria Arroyo administration of more human rights violations. The United Nations Human Rights Committee is examining the second periodic report of the government of the Philippines (CCPR/C/PHL/2002/2).

"The promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines is spectacular on paper but it is a classic case of failure at implementation" - stated Mr. Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Since President Gloria Arroyo took over in February 2001, there were reports of torture of 49 persons, of which 37 occurred in 2002, clearly indicating increase of torture.

President Arroya administration reintroduced death penalty under the Republic Act 7659 and death hangs over 175 convicts, including 12 minors. As of September 2003, there were seven children who were awarded death penalty and being detained in Cell 215, Medium Security Compound at New Bilibid Prison. The security forces have extrajducially executed 44 persons in 2001 and 41 persons in 2002. The government vigilantes and the armed opposition groups such as Moro Islamic Liberation Front, New Peoples Army and Abu Sayyaf Group have also been responsible for violations of the right to life.

The ACHR stated that the extension of the term of Commissioner for National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) rather than extending it for the full term or appoint another chair for a full term has serious implications on the independence of the Commissioner for proper implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, 1997. The activities of the NCIP, especially on the delineation and titling of ancestral domains, have been hamstrung by the lack of adequate funding, bureaucratic hitches, and the inexperience of NCIP itself.

The ACHR requested the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recommend abolition of death penalty, transfer the juvenile delinquents who have been awarded death penalty from prisons to juvenile homes, take measures to end extrajudicial executions, disband the vigilante groups, amend laws to broaden the definition of torture to include all forms of torture, ban hamleting of indigenous peoples by the security forces and ensure the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act prevails over the Mining Act of 1995 in case of conflict between the two.[END]

For more information please call Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights in New Delhi, India at +91-11-25503624 or 25620583

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