A Philippine Human Rights NGO providing Psychosocial Services and Rehabilitation to Internally Displaced Persons and Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence.

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Latest News

Balay participated in the investigative hearing on the discovery of an  alleged secret detention room which concealed some twelve suspects in a police station in Manila Police District.   The hearing was  convened by the Committee on Human Rights of the House of Representatives on May 29, 2017 in response to  a resolution filed by legislators that have been approached by Balay.

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Around 40 members of the Human Rights Council have  spoken against the controversial extra judicial killings of  persons as a result of the   war-on-drugs policy of the Duterte Administratio, while at least fourteen  other state-parties expressed concern over reports of torture in the Philippines despite the enactment of the Anti Torture Act almost a decade ago.  

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The  establishment of a   mechanism to  implement an integrated  rehabilitation program for torture victims and families of victims of enforced disappearance made progress in the Davao Region in Mindanao  with the convening of an inter-agency forum  in Davao City on May 17, 2017.

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Balay Trains Community Paralegals

Participants together with Louie Crismo, Balay Project Officer, posing after the 3-day training on basic paralegal skills.Antipolo – 22 young people from Bagong Silang, Caloocan participated in a training aimed at equipping them with basic paralegal skills. The youths who participated in the training are current partners of Balay in their program for torture prevention and rehabilitation of victims of torture in Bagong Silang. The group is composed of young people who have experienced torture and ill treatment from the police and young people who are not victims of torture but are perceived to be vulnerable to experience it.

During the training, topics such as the Anti-Torture Law (RA 8745), the Philippine Justice System, basic paralegal skills and fact sheet making skills were discussed. The 3-day training was organized by Balay Rehabilitation Center. The content and facilitation of the sessions was likewise done by Balay staffs.

Counter-measure

Balay's experience in working in Bagong Silang has revealed that at least one case of torture or extra-judicial killings (salvaging) happen every month. In lieu of this observation, the paralegal training conducted may be viewed as a response to these human rights violations (HRVs). Trained paralegals are intended to assist possible HRV victims or refer cases to authorities or organizations such as Balay. In effect, these trained individuals may also serve as community-based "watchdogs" – their presence as a deterrent to state authorities in committing such horrible acts.

Business of Saving Lives

At the start of the training, Mr. Ellecer Carlos, one of the facilitators, noted that "torture can happen to anyone". In this light, at the end of the training, it was emphasized to the participants that paralegal skills can someday "save your or somebody else's life". As one of the facilitators succinctly, paralegal work "is in the business of saving lives".

HRV Monitoring System

Aside from forming a pool of paralegals – individuals that may help victims of human rights violations – the training is also intended to create a pool of human rights violations monitors. The information collected by the paralegals, which shall also serve as HRV monitors, shall be used to gauge the human rights situation in Bagong Silang. This information is hoped to be used for research – describing the extent of HRVs in Bagong Silang as well as to come up with trends – and policy reform advocacy within the Barangay and City Government.