The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) welcomed the Philippines’ accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) and thanked Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, for sponsoring Senate Resolution 644 that led to the approval of the treaty.
In a letter to Legarda, Mr. Mark Thomson, Secretary General of APT, stressed the importance of accession to the OPCAT by the Philippines, the 63rd state party to the treaty worldwide and the 4th in Asia Pacific.
“Your country has demonstrated regional leadership in the area of torture prevention and will set a key example in the next phase, that of implementing the treaty. We congratulate you on this historic and important moment for the Philippines in relation to upholding the rights and dignity of persons deprived of their liberty,” Thomson’s letter read.
Legarda welcomed the APT’s support to the Philippines as it vowed to assist the country in its efforts in implementing the OPCAT.
The OPCAT requires state parties to create or designate National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) which will work with the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to conduct regular visits to all places of detention and make recommendations on the establishment of effective measures to prevent torture and ill-treatment and to improve the conditions in prisons and of prisoners.
“We are grateful that the Association for the Prevention of Torture has offered assistance in the execution of this agreement. We are confident that the OPCAT will be an effective instrument in keeping in check acts of torture, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of detainees,” the Senator stressed.
“We are also hopeful that this agreement will pave the way for the much needed reform programs for jail condition and detention facilities, making them conducive to promote the rehabilitation of its residents,” Legarda concluded.