THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has aired its full commitment to support international human rights policies aimed at protecting persons deprived of liberties from torture and other inhuman acts while inside detention facilities.
PNP Acting Chief Directorial Staff, Major General Michael John F. Dubria represented PNP Chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Colloquium hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Makati City. Gen. Azurin is in France attending an Interpol summit.
The event had been sidelined over the past three years as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic which triggered massive health restrictions. However, it finally resumed this week with 40 local and 20 foreign delegates from 12 police agencies in the Asia-Pacific region in attendance during the November 27 to December 1 meeting.
This year’s humanitarian dialogue was organized by the ICRC in partnership with the PNP. It had the theme “Law Enforcement and Reducing Humanitarian Risks in the Early Stages of Detention.”
The 5-day event aimed to facilitate a discussion among specialists at a policy or planning level on the risks associated with the early stages of detention. It also aimed to share policy, existing challenges, practical mitigation strategies and lessons from the Asia-Pacific region.
“We have increased the number of scheduled and surprise inspection of PNP custodial facilities nationwide as part of our anti-torture strategy. This is to ensure that persons under police custody are treated in a humane and dignified manner and to uphold their individual rights pursuant to human rights standards and existing laws,” Maj. Gen. Dubria said in his message during the opening ceremony.
Some of the objectives of the event were to increase understanding among senior policymakers of the humanitarian challenges arising during the early stages of detention; develop an awareness of the causes of high-risk behavior and look at strategies to reduce this in the participants’ own contexts.
It also aimed to promote mutual understanding between ICRC colleagues and participants, and to set the conditions for operational and policy dialogue between the ICRC and states to share approaches to reduce humanitarian impact even in sensitive areas.
According to Maj. Gen. Dubria , all police personnel have also been re-oriented on their obligation to inform all persons arrested, detained, or under custodial investigation about their rights under the law including their inalienable and non-derogable right to be free from torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.
“More than just responding to the requirements of human rights laws, we are here to jointly express our firm commitment to uphold the rights of all persons, including persons deprived of liberty, simply because we all need to preserve our inherent dignity and value as human beings,” said Dubria.
The 1st conference, co-organized by the ICRC and the Ecuadorian National Police, was held on September 14-16, 2016 in Quito and was attended by 27 senior officers from 13 countries. It covered topics such as “use of force in the maintenance of public order” and “consequences of the use of firearms in the line of duty.’