[In the Web] Rights victims turn to media for remedy, says Asia watchdog

Filipino women activists stage a play to symbolize human rights violations. Photo from http://cryptome.org.

THE failure of the Philippine government to protect its people from human rights violations has forced its citizens to seek “remedy by publicity,” according to an Asian human rights watchdog.

In a 25-page report on the Philippines, submitted in time for the International Human Rights Day on Saturday, the Asian Human Rights Commission said, “Due to absence of effective remedy in the criminal justice system, there has been an ongoing practice of victims, their families and those who supports them, to obtain some sort of remedy by way of publicity, not in the trial process.”

This means filing complaints against soldiers and policemen accused of violations is not enough for complainants, they also have to call the attention of supporters from within and outside the country to pressure the government into action.

That’s why witnesses or complainants at risk prefer to tell their stories to journalists rather than to the police. “Victims who are illegally detained, tortured and falsely charged would rather employ public pressure for their release than take legal action,” the Hong-Kong based human rights watchdog said in a statement.

“The widespread arbitrariness and disregard to elementary due process and legality that protects the rights is lacking if not completely absent. There must be a substantive discourse on the irreparable impact of how the flawed country’s system of justice operates to this day.”

Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Quiapo Church in Manila, said the government must strengthen structures to protect the rights of the victims and those filing charges.

“We are saddened that in our beloved homeland, we continue to hear and witness violations of the rights of our brothers and sisters,” he said in an interview Saturday. “We could do a lot, if only all our branches in government could work together to uphold the rights of the citizens.”

Please read full article at http://www.cathnewsphil.com/2011/12/13/rights-victims-turn-to-media-for-remedy-rights-watchdog/




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