December 04, 2014, Thursday
Page 10 of 79
AI cites National Police’s efforts to improve rights record
By: Rene Acosta
Despite the reported increase in crimes, human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has recognized the National Police for taking steps in contributing to the improvement of the country’s human-rights record.
At the same time, AI Director Steve Crawshaw said the human rights watchdog is interested in learning from the experience of the National Police on the challenges and breakthroughs in human-rights promotion and protection.
Crawshaw, representing AI Secretary General Salil Shetty, led an eight man delegation that visited the National Police General Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Wednesday as part of the groups Asian sortie.
AI’s recognition of National Police’s efforts came in the wake of criticisms against the force owning to the rising crime incidence, including rape.
The National Police explained, however, that there may a “seeming” increase in crime incidence but it was only the result of the crime-reporting system it has adopted. It said the new system was more accurate.
During the visit, Crawshaw discussed general issues and concerns on human rights with police officials, led by Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas, the deputy chief for administration.
Rojas cited a report by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that showed a sharp decline in reported cases of torture and maltreatment from a high 53 cases in 2010 and 68 cases in 2011, down to only six cases in 2013.
The CHR report is consistent with the AI assessment that in the last decade, the country has taken steps in addressing human-rights concerns by establishing an excellent human-rights treaty ratification record and robust human rights-based national laws.
Because the legal infrastructure is already in place in the Philippines, proper implementation of the existing laws and policies against torture and improvements in the criminal justice and accountability systems will ultimately led to ending the use of torture in the country, the AI said.
Chief Superintendent Antonio Viernes of the force’s Human Rights Affairs Office, said that over the years, the National Police has steadily institutionalized stronger safeguards to ensure strict adherence to international human rights standards in all aspects of police operation and procedure.
These included established policies on incorporation of human subjects in all mandatory and special training courses; use of Miranda warning cards; upholding the visitorial powers; banning the media presentation of suspects; mandatory attendance and cooperation during congressional hearings and public inquiries related to human rights; banning hazing and other forms of maltreatment in all police education and training activities and anti-torture and human-rights protection training for detention authorities.