PHILIPPINES: CHR WARNS OF VIOLATING INT'L TREATIES BY REINSTATING DEATH PENALTY
August 3, 2020:
An official of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has warned the government of possible sanctions from the international community if it pushes through with the move to restore capital punishment in the country. (Sources: The Philippine Star, 31/08/2020)
Reinstating the death penalty would be a breach of international law since the Philippines is a signatory to an international treaty that commits to the abolition of capital punishment, CHR commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit told “The Chiefs” on One News / TV 5 on 29 July 2020.
Dumpit said there is no opt-out provision in the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country ratified in 2007.
The treaty recognizes the abolition of the death penalty that contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights. Its signatories agree that no person would be executed within its jurisdiction.
“Of course we can always challenge that, but the impact of that is something that we have to brace for because trust and confidence as a state party that would enter into agreements would be at stake,” Dumpit said.
“It’s all about the commitment. It’s all about confidence whether you as a state party will be able to comply and not renege on those commitments,” she added.
Dumpit said that the Philippines could suffer consequences, such as the removal from the list of countries that benefit from lower tariffs in the European Union.
Even narrowing down the scope of the death penalty to certain drug offenses would still violate the international agreement and the basic human right to life, she added.
She maintained that reinstating the death penalty would not be a deterrent to criminality, reiterating studies that show the ineffectiveness of capital punishment to curb crimes.
“The severity of punishment will never be a deterrent. It’s actually solid police work, intelligence work and proper implementation of the laws,” said Dumpit.
“It’s a false promise to say that death penalty would bring about a deterrence in criminality, especially in heinous crimes. That’s simply a false promise,” she added.