Anti-torture advocate-doctor to UN: Pride of victims, challenge to Aquino government

Letter to the Editor
October 30, 2012

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA extends its warmest congratulations to Dr. June P. Lopez for being elected to the United Nations Sub-committee on Prevention of Torture.

We have known Dr. Pagaduan-Lopez as a committed psychiatric expert who spearheaded the assessment of torture experiences of survivors of human rights violations during Martial Law. She interviewed and reviewed several cases documented by SELDA when it filed the historic class suit of almost 10,000 human rights violations victims against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The election of Dr. Lopez to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture is a proud moment for Filipinos and for torture victims and human rights organizations who continue to fight for justice and human rights.

Her contribution of extending her medical knowledge and practice to human rights advocacy will definitely give impact to the work of people seeking justice and rehabilitation of torture victims around the world.

It is unfortunate however, that while Dr. June Lopez is recognized for her human rights advocacy and work for the rehabilitation of torture victims, the country she represents continues to lag behind in the implementation of the UN instruments on human rights it is a party to.

While the Philippines became a state party to the OPCAT on April 17, 2012 and despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, many are still victimized. Most of the currently imprisoned 300 political prisoners have been tortured and no perpetrator has been made answerable for their inhuman acts against hapless victims.

The election of a hard-working Filipino and anti-torture advocate to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of  Torture serves as a challenge to the Aquino Government to genuinely uphold and respect the rights of the Filipino people.

REFERENCE:
Angelina Ipong
Secretary General
SELDA
(09499587373)
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