U.N. Committee Against Torture Emphasizes Sexual Abuse in Philippine Detention Facilities

May 29, 2009, Los Angeles, CA. - Just Detention International (JDI) applauds the conclusions and recommendations issued by the United Nations Committee Against Torture following its review of the Philippines’ compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. JDI submitted a shadow report to the Committee, highlighting the problem of sexual violence in Philippine prisons and jails.

Noting that the Philippines’ state party report was submitted 16 years after it was due, the Committee expressed serious concern about allegations of widespread sexual abuse against detainees in the custody of police, military, and prison officials. Underscoring the government’s failure to prevent this form of torture, the Committee pointed to the practice in some jails of housing women among male detainees and juveniles among adults. The Committee also noted that male corrections officers continue to guard female prisoners, in violation of Philippine regulations.

Among its recommendations, the Committee adopted a number of measures that JDI emphasized in its shadow report, such as the need to alleviate overcrowding and to improve current policies and practices for housing detainees. The Committee advised that: detainees must be able to report sexual abuse without being subjected to punishment or retaliation; survivors of sexual abuse must be provided confidential medical and mental health care; and, all instances of sexual abuse must be promptly and impartially investigated and prosecuted. The Committee also urged the Philippine government to adopt the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2008 (PREA), which is currently pending before Congress.

Please click here to review the U.N. CAT Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations and JDI’s shadow report An Emerging Human Rights Crisis: Sexual Violence in Philippine Detention Facilities. For further information, please contact JDI’s Program Director, Cynthia Totten, at 213-384-1400 ext. 106 or

Just Detention International (JDI) is a human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI has three core goals for its work: to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to transform ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to ensure that survivors of this form of abuse are able to get the help they need. As part of its Philippine program, JDI works with the national human rights commission, non-governmental organizations, and lawmakers to raise awareness about and mount effective strategies for addressing sexual violence in Philippine detention facilities.

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