Quezon City, March 10, 2009 – The torture, possible rape, and killing of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20-year old civilian teacher and daughter of an NPA commander, is evidence of the continuous human rights violations that is happening under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. “The abduction of Rebelyn on March 4 and later her body found dead on March 5 at the time when women should be celebrating women’s gains and solidarity for their causes this Women’s Month is indeed a slap in the face of all Filipino women,” said Atty. Clara Rita A. Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights.
Atty. Padilla added, “All the perpetrators of this gruesome violence against women, the four armed men and those who issued the orders, must face accountability and be immediately dismissed from service after a thorough investigation and hearing. Under the doctrine of due diligence, the Philippine government has the ‘duty to prevent, investigate and punish international law violations and pay just compensation.’”
“The Philippine government is directly responsible for the acts of the perpetrators under the international law of State responsibility,” continued Atty. Padilla. The Articles on State Responsibility adopted by the International Law Commissionand subsequently noted by the UN General Assembly.Article 4 of the Articles provides:
Article 4. Conduct of Organs of a State
a) The conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central Government or of a territorial unit of the State.
b) An organ includes any person or entity which has that status in accordance with the internal law of the State.
Atty. Padilla stressed, “Thus, actions of the operatives that are inconsistent with the Philippines’ international human rights obligations amount to a failure by the State to fulfill its human rights obligations. Having ratified the Conventions on Women, Torture, and Civil and Political Rights, the Philippine government must put a stop to these human rights violations.”
Inaction against the perpetrators and the continuing failure of the judiciary to actively prosecute the perpetrators provide evidence of the failure of the State to fulfill its human rights obligations and the complete lack of will to address the human rights violations.
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