Press Release
October 24, 2010


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago urged the Philippines and other countries represented in the NGO called Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) to become parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Santiago is the author of a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that President Aquino should send the Rome Statute to the Senate for ratification.

Santiago spoke before the annual forum of the PGA on Sunday, October 24, at Istanbul, Turkey.

The PGA is an NGO that enjoys general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

Santiago was invited by the forum organizers at the panel on gender justice and women's rights.

The panel was organized by the Campaign for the Effectiveness and Universality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court System, which is supported by the European Union.

"Since the Rome Statute promises to end impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, the treaty covers gender-related atrocities," Santiago said.

The senator said the most serious crimes of concern consist of: the crime of genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; and the crime of aggression.

"Such serious crimes of concern could include gender-related crimes, on the condition that there is a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against any civilian population," she said.

The senator also pointed out that under the Rome Statute, the phrase "other inhuman acts" includes the following forms of sexual violence: rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, and forced sterilization, or other forms of sexual violence of sufficient gravity.

In addition to the resolution urging ratification of the Rome Statute in the Senate, Santiago has also been the principal author of the law on crimes against international humanitarian law, the Magna Carta of Women, and the pending reproductive health bill.

"In debating the reproductive health bill, the Philippines should use standards based on human rights and values that are designed democratically," she told the forum.

The PGA forum started on 23 October 2010 with a keynote speech by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Philippine delegation included Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Dr. Nenalyn P. Defensor and Phillipine Ambassador to Turkey Pedro Chan.

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