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Melissa Roxas

August 4, 2011

intentionally inflicted – “…The International Convention Against Torture (CAT) as well as our very own Anti-Torture Law define torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” Melissa Roxas’ testimony did not establish with certainty the identity and authority of her captors. On the other hand, there are other credible evidence that point at other non-state actors. Hence, even as torture was not established because the material element of public officials is absent, the CHR still concluded that Melissa Roxas was held and maltreated in violation of her human rights…” (Melissa Roxas Case)

human rights – “…It is always a “blame-the-victim” mentality, and instead of investigating the perpetrators, the victim is often the one who is scrutinized and investigated. It was most absurd to imply that I could have done or would do this to myself. And the medical report conducted after I surfaced is consistent with evidence of abduction and torture. The Philippine government and military also often label people working in legal and democratic organizations advocating for their rights as communists and NPA rebels to justify illegal detention and even torture in their counterinsurgency campaigns. In my case, I was being forced to admit I was an NPA rebel, and I had consistently denied that I was a member of the NPA and told them I was a writer and activist. But under any circumstance, illegal detention and torture is ALWAYS WRONG no matter who the person is who is detained or tortured. NPA or not. Torture is against all the international laws on human rights and covenants. Any society that uses and condones the use of torture rejects the basic principles of human rights and human dignity. It is also not a true democracy nor what we would even consider a civilized society. You can never justify the use of torture. It dehumanizes the torturers, it dehumanizes the tortured, and it dehumanizes a whole society that is witness to it and chooses not to do anything about it. You can never justify the use of torture…” (Melissa Roxas speaks)

anti-communism – “The CHR practically clears the AFP and misleads the public to believe the NPA abducted Melissa, without even presenting a shred of evidence and with total disregard for the detailed testimony of the victim. Nowhere in the report does it offer any detail, let alone motive, for the NPA to abduct Melissa,” Reyes said. Bayan said that the line of questioning by Melissa’s captors during her detention and torture make it “illogical” to pin the blame on the NPA. The umbrella group said that the line of questioning, as detailed in Roxas affidavit, was consistent with how the military interrogates activists suspected of being NPA members. “During detention, according to her testimony, Melissa was forced to sign a document saying she’s NPA and was repeatedly asked to return to the fold of the law. She was asked how she got involved in Bayan USA and was lectured on anti-communism and religion. She was told she was in the ‘order of battle.’ She was only released when she played along with her captors’ demand that she will reform. Is this the work of the NPA? It simply defies logic. What is the motive of the NPA for abducting her? Why does the CHR give this theory any credibility?” Reyes asked (CHR ‘practically clears’ AFP of torturing Melissa Roxas – Bayan)

Melissa Roxas was born on October 23, 1977 in Manila, Philippines. In 1986, the same year after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, when Melissa was nine years old, she migrated along with two siblings to Los Angeles to be reunited with her mother, where Melissa would grow up and become a woman. After graduating from high school in 1996, Melissa’s interest in community work, particularly in health care, manifested when she was a student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She had the intention of one day going to medical school. While in UCSD, Melissa was an active member of Kaibigang Pilipino (KP), the campus-based Filipino student organization and the Asian and Pacific-Islander Student Alliance (APSA). In 1998, Melissa served as the playwright, lyricist, and director of “Kalayaan” (Freedom), a musical play about Filipino culture staged at UCSD. In 1998, Melissa co-founded and later served as director for Active Students for Teens (AST) in which she tutored and mentored third-grade children. In the same year she volunteered with Educational Enrichment Programs working with preschool children from disadvantaged communities, to promote reading and learning skills…In 2007, Melissa traveled back to the Philippines to conduct research for a writing project and to dedicate more of her time to community health work. On May 19th, 2009, while on a medical mission in Tarlac, Melissa Roxas became a victim of a human rights violation herself when she was abducted at gunpoint and held against her will for six days, while being subject to physical and psychological torture until her surfacing in Quezon City on May 25, 2009 (Justice for Melissa).

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