First in Asia: Philippines declares enforced disappearance a crime

President Benigno Aquino III has signed into a law a bill that penalizes the secret "arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State."

President Benigno Aquino III has signed into a law a bill that penalizes the secret "arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State."


The Associated Press, through Sun.Star Online reports the new law defines enforced disappearance as the arrest or detention "of a person by state officials or their agents who subsequently conceal the person’s fate or whereabouts."  State agents like police officers and soldiers found guilty face life imprisonment.

 

The law also prohibits the creation of "orders of battle" or lists of people believed to be enemies of the state and treating them as legitimate combatants. "Those listed are open to assassinations, abductions, harassment and intimidation," the report said.

 

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the law was the first of its kind in Asia. The group challenged Aquino to move to enforce it as soon as possible.

 

For more on this story, log on to PhilStar.com.

 

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