Filipino doctor elected to key United Nations (UN) committee vs torture

Dr. June Caridad Pagaduan Lopez, MD, is a Filipina psychiatrist and trauma specialist. She is also a faculty member and training coordinator at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine and an international faculty (Torture Prevention and Rehabilitation) at Rotary Peace Center of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. She also serves as the director of the Center for Gender and Women Studies. As a technical expert on Mental Health and Sexual Violence and as a member of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative of the World Health Organization, she promotes peace and helps traumatized women and children especially in war-torn areas like Mindanao and East Timor. Dr. Lopez is nominated as member in the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment for 2012 to 2016. Members to the SPT will be elected on 25 October 2012 at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Filipino professor Dr. June Pagaduan-Lopez has been elected as one of twelve new members of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT).

She will serve as expert, from 2012 to 2016, in monitoring detention conditions in more than 60 sixty countries worldwide.

The Medical Action Group (MAG), of which Dr. Pagaduan-Lopez is one of the founders, welcomed her election, saying "this will considerably strengthen the mandate of the SPT in torture prevention particularly in the field of mental health rehabilitation of torture survivors and their families."

Dr. Pagaduan-Lopez, is a professor at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines-Manila.

MAG said, "for many years, Dr. Pagaduan-Lopez' capabilities and outstanding commitment in linking her profession as a psychiatrist to the promotion and defense of human rights, particularly in rehabilitation of torture survivors, will enable her to make a valuable contribution to the work of the SPT and the prevention of torture in the country and worldwide."

 The election was held at the fourth meeting of States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) on 25 October 2012, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Other experts who were elected are from Switzerland, United Kingdom, Argentina, New Zealand, Lebanon, Serbia, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Brazil, Germany and Republic of Moldova.

 Dr. Lopez has 30 years as an undergraduate and postgraduate educator in medical school and public health school (psychiatry, organizational development, occupational and mental health). She finished her medicine at the University of the Philippines-Manila.

 She was awarded by Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS) in 1989. In 2010, she was awarded Outstanding Achievement Award by the International Council for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (IRCT) given by the Dr. Inge Genefke Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark, during its 25th anniversary celebration.

She was among the 39 recipients of the Most Distinguished Alumnus Award  by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) in 2011.

The Philippines became the 63rd state party to the OPCAT on April 17, 2012, making it eligible to submit a candidate for the SPT. 

SPT's work started in February 2007 with 10 members and expanded to 25 members in January 2011.

The SPT has a "preventive mandate" focused on an innovative, sustained and proactive approach to the prevention of torture and ill treatment.

It also has an operational role which consists in visiting all places of detention in States parties.

GMA News 

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