Health Group: Medical Professionals Can Help Stop Torture


As it marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (IDSVT) on Sunday, a group of medical professionals said people in the health profession can help deter acts of torture through effective investigation and documentation of such cases.

In observance of the IDSVT which falls every 26th of June, the Medical Action Group (MAG) said “effective medical documentation of torture can lessen impunity and help obtain redress for victims of such inhuman act.”

Also it said health professionals can battle torture more effectively by using the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment commonly known as the Istanbul Protocol.

“Even though torture is a crime, “it has become a deep-rooted practice in the Philippines. Majority of the perpetrators go unpunished and most victims, usually from marginalized sectors, lack resources to get the services of lawyers and doctors,” said MAG executive director Edeliza P. Hernandez, Executive Director of MAG that treat torture victims.

For this year’s observance of IDSVT, the MAG, together with like-minded medical doctors and health professionals, renewed its vow to support victims of torture and all forms of inhuman acts.

On June 26, 1987, the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment came into force. The Philippines acceded to this Convention on June 18, 1986.

Meanwhile, MAG urges the government to institutionalize the use of the Istanbul Protocol because the Supreme Court has affirmed the value of the Protocol in proving claims of torture.

MAG said the government’s obligation to provide redress for human rights violations, such as torture cases, entails the duty to ensure full reparation and to provide rehabilitation for victims and their relatives.

“Through a combination of effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Act and heightened sense of political will, government officials can play a key role in preventing torture in the country,” MAG said.

(source: Yahoo News)
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