Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

Terrorism must not be used as an excuse for human rights violations!

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 30 August 2007
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Terrorism must not be used as an excuse for human rights violations!, 30 August 2007, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Preliminary conclusions from an international fact-finding mission to the Philippines led by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) find that torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are common practice there in the context of the US-led "war on terror".

Testimonies collected from victims during the mission confirm that torture occurs frequently when the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the National Police arrest someone suspected of terrorism or of being an "enemy of the State".

In most cases, victims are arrested without a warrant and with no explanation. They are blindfolded and handcuffed before being brought to a military camp or a secret location, where they are forced to admit that they are members of "terrorist groups" like the Abu Sayyaf Group or the New People's Army (NPA). The majority of those arrested are punched in the chest, beaten with rifles and threatened with death. Certain victims also reported suffocation with a plastic bag, electrocution, deprivation of sleep and threats against relatives. Suspects are often required to sign a testimony under duress before being brought to a prosecutor.

Mechanisms and initiatives put in place to ensure respect for human rights do not seem to be effectively implemented. As an example, very few perpetrators of extrajudicial killings (and no high-ranking officials) have been prosecuted so far, whereas the estimates vary from 100 to more than 800 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since 2001.

While condemning unreservedly human rights violations perpetrated by non-State actors, FIDH and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) call upon the Filipino authorities to ensure that "terrorism" is not invoked as an excuse for human rights violations.

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