Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice (PATH) was formally organized in 2002, pioneering in its focus on human rights violations by a non-state armed group. Composed of torture survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims missing or executed during the anti-infiltration campaigns within the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the 1980s, PATH seeks truth and justice from the CPP-NPA and other Left blocs involved in the anti-infiltration campaigns.
PATH believes that all non-state armed groups, including those not from the Left movement, should observe human rights in the conduct of their resistance against the State. Ultimately, PATH holds the State accountable as well for the purges, and for military atrocities during martial law and throughout successive administrations.
Goals & Objectives
PATH's goals and objectives are as follows:
1. Complete the documents of the cases of all victims during the purges and all those involved.
2. Organize a national community of human rights defenders and advocates composed of survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims during the purges.
3. Facilitate the healing of survivors as well as the families, relatives and friends of purge victims.
4. Conduct exhumations so that victims are given due respect and proper burial.
5. Conduct a comprehensive advocacy work. Its main components will be public information and campaign, solidarity-building and lobbying at the local, national and international levels.
6. Deepen and popularize the culture of human rights through artistic and popular education, productions and other cultural endeavors.
7. Come up with case studies of country experiences on the setting up of Truth and Justice Commissions and strive for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission in the country together with other human rights organizations and individual human rights advocates.
Research & Documentation. Documents stories and produces a database of victims in aid of locating burial sites; conducts research to surface facts and circumstances of the purges; publishes materials as tools for justice campaigns; ensures confidentiality and security of records and files.
Recovery of Victims' Remains. In cooperation with the victims' kin, locates gravesites, retrieves the remains and arranges their proper burial; mobilizes the services of forensic experts and other professionals; initiates dialogues with the victims' families as well as with perpetrators.
Counseling & Therapy. Facilitates healing sessions that address the long-term trauma of surivivors and victims families; mobilizes professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; builds support groups for victims and their families towards eventual closure.
Communications & Popular Education. Develops education programs, including theoretical materials and tools for reflection, that revolve around human rights and respect for human dignity; holds commemoration activities and builds memorials for the victims; develops external communications through publications and mass media.
Legal & Security. Leads in the initiation and pursuance of legal actions for victims; assist in the handling and protection of material evidence in coordination with the RVR Committee; conducts research on the possibilities of a Truth Commission; studies the implications of PATH's work on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and ensures lines with established institutions that will help strengthen PATH;
Arts & Culture. Produces musical compositions, literary works, plays, video documentaries, films, and other cultural works from the stories of survivors and victims.
Organizing & Advocacy. Reaches out to survivors and victims' families in different regions and encourages solidarity in their journey towards justice and healing.
Bus Driver Raped by Police Faces New Risk of Torture
Egyptian Authorities Responsible for Safety of Torture Victim Sentenced to Prison
(Cairo, January 13, 2007) — A criminal court in Giza this week sentenced `Imad al-Kabir, a 21-year-old microbus driver tortured and raped by police last year, to three months in prison for resisting authorities and assaulting an officer, Human Rights Watch said today. Al-Kabir now risks being sent back to the same police station where he was tortured by police officers who later circulated a video of his rape.
Al-Kabir told Human Rights Watch that two plainclothes officers detained him on January 18, 2006, after he intervened in an altercation between the officers and his cousin. He said that the officers took him to Bulaq al-Dakrur police station, where they beat him, tied him by his wrists and ankles, and raped him with a stick while one of the officers made a video of the torture with his mobile phone. The video shows al-Kabir screaming and begging for mercy while being raped. A police report dated January 18, 2006, indicated that al-Kabir was arrested for “resisting authorities” and assaulting a civil servant performing his duties. On January 9, roughly a month after after al-Kabir complained to prosecutors about the abuse he suffered in custody, Judge Samir Abu al-Mati sentenced al-Kabir to three months is prison. “Egyptian authorities are responsible for `Imad al-Kabir’s safety in custody,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities must not send al-Kabir back to face further harm or intimidation, and they should take immediate steps to prosecute the people who tortured him.” According to al-Kabir, police told him they circulated the video among other microbus drivers from his neighborhood to “break his spirit.” Egyptian bloggers posted the video in early November, sparking intense press interest and public outcry. In early December, al-Kabir publicly identified two of the officers who tortured him as Capt. Islam Nabih and Corp. Rida Fathi of the Bulaq al-Dakrur police station and filed a complaint with the public prosecutor. The prosecutor summoned al-Kabir on December 12 for questioning regarding his complaint and on December 24 ordered the two held for questioning. In a separate hearing on January 9, Judge al-Mati, the same judge who sentenced al-Kabir to prison, also denied bail to the two police officers, whose trial is scheduled to begin in March. “The state has an obligation to protect al-Kabir as a witness in a torture case,” Whitson said. “Sending a torture victim back to the same place where he said he was tortured on charges brought by his alleged torturers raises enormous concerns about his safety.” The Convention Against Torture, which Egypt ratified in 1986, requires that anyone alleging torture and any witnesses to the torture should be “protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.” The same Convention states that Egypt is obliged to prohibit any form of torture or ill treatment and to protect victims by carrying out thorough, impartial and prompt investigations into allegations of torture and filing criminal charges where appropriate. Article 42 of Egypt’s constitution provides that any person in detention “shall be treated in a manner concomitant with the preservation of his dignity” and that “no physical or moral (ma`nawi) harm is to be inflicted upon him.” But article 126 of Egypt’s Penal Code gives a narrow definition of torture as physical abuse alone occurring only when the victim is “an accused,” and only when it is being used in order to coerce a confession. This definition improperly excludes cases of mental or psychological abuse, and cases where the torture is committed against someone other than “an accused” or for purposes other than securing a confession. Human Rights Watch and Egyptian lawmakers have repeatedly called on the government to change the Penal Code to incorporate Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law and also to amend laws that allow the government to hold detainees incommunicado for months at a time. Incommunicado detention makes it easy to mistreat suspects with impunity and have allowed torture to become commonplace in Egyptian detention facilities, Human Rights Watch said. “The fact that the people who tortured `Imad al-Kabir videotaped their crime suggests that they thought they could get away with it,” Whitson said. “The government must end the shadowy culture of impunity that the video exposed.”
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH) 45 Matimtiman St., cor. Magiting St., Teachers' Village East Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. No: (632) 921-8049 Telefax: (632) 926-2893
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The book about the CPP-NPA Purges
"Bobby Garcia provides a riveting account of the Communist Party of the Philippines' "killing fields" and situates it within the context of a revolutionary movement that was nobly motivated but also tragically flawed. To Suffer Thy Comrades goes beyond Garcia's narrative of his and other survivors' harrowing experiences and explains why the purges took place, how both torturers and victims coped and made sense of their plight, and how they survived in the aftermath of the purge. The book sheds light on the darkest and deepest secrets of the revolutionary movement and provides insights that are useful now that the communists are negotiating peace with the government" - SHEILA CORONEL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
"...Bobby Garcia had the courage to write about the 'killing fields' despite some people's efforts to dissuade him. Bobby was one of its victims -- he was 21 when his entire future was nearly taken away from him -- who was lucky enough to survive. And who is even luckier to retain a huge sense of humor and equanimity, even when talking about his ordeal, at least with friends. His book is called "To Suffer Thy Comrades"...It is certainly not something that will set your mind at rest. But read it anyway. Its virtue is to be found in that biblical observation, 'The truth shall set you free.' - CONRADO DE QUIROS, Philippine Daily Inquirer