21 February 2011
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP calls for strengthened advocacy against the death penalty by the Philippineshttp://amnesty.org.ph/news.php?item=news&id=183
Amnesty International called on the Philippine government to strengthen its advocacy against the death penalty, not only in China but other parts of the world, to avoid the crisis situation faced by the 3 Filipinos scheduled for execution in China.
“Up to now, many host countries for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have the death penalty in law and practice. In 2009, aside from China, countries with the highest number of executions included Iran (388+), Iraq (120+), Saudi Arabia (69+), USA (52), Yemen (30+), Sudan (9+), Vietnam (9+), Japan (7). These are countries where our OFWs go!” said Dr. Aurora Corazon A. Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.
Statistics from the human rights watchdog also showed that in 2009, eighteen countries were known to have carried out executions, killing a total of at least 714 people; however, this figure does not include the thousands of executions that were likely to have taken place in China, which again refused to divulge figures on its use of the death penalty. China executed more people than the rest of the world put together. Methods of execution in 2009 included hanging, shooting, beheading, stoning, electrocution and lethal injection.
“ We appreciate the government’s efforts to assist the three Filipinos in China. But our government needs to do more proactive steps to prevent the situation where the 3 are in. Our government must nip the problem in the bud, not just when peoples are already almost to lose their lives through execution,” warned, Dr. Parong.
Amnesty International, which has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, has listed several ways which the government should do:
· Advocate for the abolition of the death penalty in the countries where it exists by law and practice;
· Due diligence in apprehending, prosecuting and de-listing recruitment agencies involved in illegal drugs trafficking;
· Due diligence in investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice the manufacturers of illegal drugs, drug traffickers and smugglers
· Provide competent legal assistance to OFWs facing crimes covered under the death penalty law of the country hosting them, rather than wait to assist when they are already convicted;
· Improve orientation for OFWs so that they are aware of the possibility of death penalty in countries they are going to by divulging death penalty laws in host countries for OFWs.
· Discourage OFWs from going to countries where death penalty exists and especially where it covers many crimes.
“Government agencies in charge of combatting illegal drugs and drug trafficking should work together with migration officers so that they can prevent OFWs becoming drug mules. Of course, the best is still for the government to create conditions where there can be more jobs with decent wages in the country. Pag may trabaho dito ay hindi mapipilitang kumapit sa patalim ang mga OFWs ”, said Dr. Parong.
Amnesty International also said that the Philippine government should continue in advocating for the abolition of death penalty in other parts of the world.
Of the 193 independent states that are either UN members or have UN observer status:
41 (21%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
95 (49%) have abolished it.
8 (4%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
49 (25%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
For questions please call or e-mail Dr. Aurora Parong at: 433-8100; 09175299953; firstname.lastname@example.org