• United Kingdom supports PH anti-torture efforts

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    Employees of different government agencies and human rights advocates take part in the Run Against Torture in Quezon City on Wednesday to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

    The United Kingdom (UK) backed the Philippines efforts against torture as it joined the 7th annual “Basta! Run Against Torture 7” organized for the elimination of torture in the country.

    The event coincided with the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

    “The UK considers torture to be an abhorrent violation of human rights and human dignity, and unreservedly condemns the practice. We are happy to be an ally of the Philippines in making the Philippines a Torture Free Zone,” Shane Male, UK’s human rights officer said in a statement released by the British Embassy in Manila.

    Male delivered the statement during the event on behalf of First Secretary Steph Lysaght, who earlier expressed his support for the Philippines’ efforts to eliminate torture.

    Last year, Male said the British government supported the work of the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Justice, Philippine National Police and the Medical Action Group to enhance the capacity and strengthen the cooperation among prosecutors, law enforcement agents and civil society to improve the prosecution of cases of torture.

    “But today as an outsider looking in, I can see that the country has made significant achievement with the recent passage of several human rights laws, inter-agency cooperation on human rights issues, and more importantly dialogues between civil society and the security services,” Male said.

    “Because at the end of the day, human rights is really an indicator of a government’s relationship with its people’” he added.

    The official said torture prevention is one of the most important components in ensuring Britain’s security.

    “Aside from the appalling physical and psychological harm for victims, the sense of indignity and injustice it creates, it can radicalize individuals and communities and brutalize the societies they live in,” Male said.

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