Soldiers say no to torture

camp-aguinaldo

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – More than 200 soldiers representing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) pledged to end the act of torture, cruelty, and degrading punishment among the military ranks as they participate in the parade and exhibition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Quadrangle, today.

Led by the AFP Human Rights Office Chief, Brig. Gen. Domingo J. Tutaan Jr., the soldiers recited Article 5 of the UDHR: ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. They were joined by all other government agencies including the Department of Justice and CHR who also recited different articles of the UDHR.

The activity was held after the Bike Run and Fun Run which started earlier at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Soldiers from the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, and AFP General Headquarters joined other government agencies, civil society organizations (CSO), and human rights advocates in the event which aims to promote the National Human Rights Consciousness Week from December 4 to 10.

Cadets from the Philippine National Police Academy performed a silent drill before the participants bike and run towards the CHR Quadrangle. There, runners and bikers conducted an interfaith prayer, then heads and representatives of the different government agencies, CSOs, and HR advocates signed a commitment to promote and continuously adhere to the principles of the Human Rights. Participants then reaffirmed their commitment as HR Advocates as they recite the Oath on Human Rights.

This year’s National Human Rights Consciousness Week which is anchored with the theme “My Voice Counts in Ending Impunity: I work for human rights-based governance” enjoins all government agencies to celebrate the week through simple and appropriate activities. This is aimed at making the people aware of their basic human rights.

In line with the week-long celebration, the AFP through the AFPHRO will be conducting activities to heighten the soldiers’ commitment and responsibilities as Human Rights Advocates. On December 6, senior officers holding key positions in the AFP will join the CHR led by Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales in a round table discussion at the La Breza Hotel, Quezon City. This will be followed by a Top-Level Dialogue between the two parties.

On December 9, the AFP will partake in the HR Music Fest at the QC Memorial Circle with the GHQ Band and GHQ Choral will be performing together with other Filipino artists. The AFPHRO will also attend the 2nd International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Summit on December 11.

The celebration of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week is in time for the upcoming 77th Anniversary of the AFP on December 21, where soldiers and other stakeholders will celebrate another year of fruitful Human Rights-centred campaign for peace and development.

“The continuous and active participation of our soldiers in activities like this signifies our vigour and strong drive towards the promotion and protection of the Human Rights. The AFP had been doing similar efforts itself to manifest our dedication on Human Rights advocacy for we believe that it is one of the key in achieving a just and lasting peace for our country,” Tutaan said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines assures the people that we will continue to defend and protect human dignity in all aspects of our operations. We hope that through active participation with other stakeholders and civil society organizations, our efforts to advocate human rights will continue to bear fruit,” AFP Chief of Staff, General Jessie D. Dellosa said.

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