Junio 16, 2007

Phl -- Region 8 forum tackles protection of all persons from enforced disappearance

Tacloban City (June 15) -- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is spearheading a forum/workshop which will tackle the issue on the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance, on June 22, 2007 at 8:30 in the morning to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon at MacArthur Park Hotel, Candahug, Palo, Leyte.

Atty. Desiree Pontejos, Officer in Charge of the Commission on Human Rights Regional Office 8 informed that the Forum aims at the deliberation on the Draft International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Atty. Pontejos said that the Forum is aimed at informing the participants about the rationale for the Draft Convention. It also hopes to explain the provisions of the Convention and to discuss the implications of the convention to the Philippines.

He added that the Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Quintin Cueto will be among the resource persons during the Forum which will be attended by various sectors like the military, the police force, media groups, non-government organizations, representatives of government agencies, regional state prosecutors, public attorneys office, Red Cross, among others.

Atty. Pontejos enjoins all those invited to attend said important forum which is vital to the implementation and respect for individual human rights.

Enforced disappearance constitutes a violation of international human rights and in a time of war is a violation of international humanitarian law. It is tantamount to deleting a person's very existence and denying him or her, the basic protection of the law to which every man and woman is entitled whether guilty or innocent. It is a violation of that person's rights and the rights of his or her family. The damage to the bereft, who continue to hope against all hope, is far-reaching and long-lasting, affecting not only individuals but the societies in which they live. The passage of time brings no relief from the anguish or anger they suffer from.

The prohibition of enforced disappearance, like all rules of humanitarian law, allows no exception. No war, no state of exception, no imperative reason of national security can justify enforced disappearance. Just as no State, group or individual is above the law, no person can be placed outside the law: enforced disappearance tries to do just that.

This is why this Convention is so important. It is the first international treaty to explicitly ban practices leading to enforced disappearance. This Convention requires States: to hold all persons deprived of liberty in officially recognised locations, to maintain up-to-date official registers and detailed records of all detainees, to authorise detainees to communicate with their families and legal counsel and to give competent authorities access to detainees. All these obligations are critical to prevent enforced disappearance.

The Convention also enshrines the right of families to know the fate of their relatives, one of the pillars on which all rules on missing persons must rest. Further, it requires States to incorporate the crime of enforced disappearance into their own legislation, to investigate cases of disappearances and to prosecute and punish perpetrators accordingly. If enforced disappearances are kept silent and go unpunished, the memory of the missing persons will haunt the societies in which such acts are covered up.


Posted by marga at Junio 16, 2007 5:13 PM | TrackBack
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