|Manila’s police torture culture under scrutiny
Amnesty International criticized Philippine government for allegedly failing to crack down on torture of detainees by security forces.
“Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment remains a critical human rights problem in Philippines,'' London-based Amnesty charged in a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Most instances of torture and other ill-treatment in Philippines are unreported,'' it added, citing criminal suspects in official custody as the most frequent victims of such behavior.
Made available to the press by Amnesty late Tuesday, the letter highlighted the case of 10 police officers accused of torturing prisoners for “fun'' at a secret detention facility near Manila.
The secret prison, where the officers were accused of spinning a “wheel of torture'' to decide what form of punishment they would inflict on detainees, was shut down in January after a surprise inspection by the government's Commission on Human Rights.
The officers are under investigation and the police denied torture.
The Philippine government's human rights commission said today that Amnesty's letter came at a time when the country is campaigning for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
“We agree with the assessment of Amnesty International that the Philippine government has yet to make concrete steps to eradicate the practice of torture,'' Mark Cebreros, spokesman of the commission, told AFP.
The letter was not likely to prevent the Philippines from being elected to the council, but was probably intended to ensure Manila raised its human rights standards, he added.