Sunday, February 16, 2020

CHR cautions against reported profiling of transgender women in Makati

The Commission on Human Rights on Saturday night said it will investigate a reported policy of the Makati police for transgender women to report to their station for "profiling"

According to CHR, a video acquired by the commission showed Makati police inviting a transgender woman to the police station.

When pressed for a reason for the invitation, the unidentified police officer admitted that he was simply carrying out a blanket instruction to “profile” all transgender women. The officer, however, failed to explain why this was being done. It is unclear when the incident that the CHR will investigate happened, but a Facebook page called Scads Makati and using the logo of the Makati police says in a January 23 post that the police conducted an "Oplan X-men at Burgos, Poblacion, Makati City...through combined efforts of Station Operations, Women's Desk, Station Intelligence and Station and Drug Enforcement Unit, 9:00 PM, January 22, 2020." It says that "67 individuals were invited at Makati City Police Station for profiling and were eventually released at exactly 2:00 AM of the following day" and that the operation is "an intensified operation that aims to rescue ladyboys from exploitation and human trafficking in ill repute areas."

CHR: Be cautious on accepting 'invitations' to precinct The commission, in its statement, reminded police officers that "arresting individuals cannot be made based on whim and must follow strict guidelines."

"While we recognize that there may be incidences when inviting individuals to a police station falls within the ambit of legitimate police duty, the public should, nevertheless, be cautious in agreeing to such request as it may be used to effect a warrantless arrest," lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR spokespeson, said. "This recent incident further highlights the violence and harassment experienced everyday by the LGBTQI community because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and stresses the need to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill to bar and penalize all forms of discrimination against anyone, even including those who identify as straight." The proposed SOGIE Equality Bll lists specific discriminatory practices on the basis of gender expression and identity, such as denying access to public, military or health services, including sexual orientation as a criterion for work, refusing admission or application to an educational, professional or training institution, and imposing disciplinary sanctions, among others. President Rodrigo Duterte was reported to have promised that he would classify the bill as urgent although the Palace later clarified he meant a bill against discrimination in general.

The CHR said that they it will investigate the reported profiling in Makati. "[O]ne of our best defenses against human rights violations is knowing our rights and understanding that laws and its enforcement should work to protect our freedoms—not curtail them," De Guia said.