[Press Release] EU supports human rights groups to protect human rights defenders

EU supports human rights groups to protect human rights defenders

The European Union (EU) provides financial support to two national human rights groups namely the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) worth Php 25 million in their work for the protection of human rights defenders and in their fight against impunity in the Philippines.

MAG TFDP

On December 10, during the celebration of 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 14th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, MAG and TFDP announces a 3-year project supported by the EU to provide support for and strengthen protection of human rights defenders and their families.

Dubbed “Use of Evidence Based Approach to Human Rights Documentation and Monitoring for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and their Families, and in the Fight Against Impunity”, the project will be implemented by MAG and TFDP. A key component in engendering this approach is the use of evidence based approach to human rights documentation and monitoring for the protection of human rights defenders at risk and their families.

Protection and supporting human rights defenders is a “long established element of the EU’s human rights policy” and has long been a priority for the EU. The main international instrument on human rights defenders is the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/declaration.htm Likewise, the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/16332-re01.en08.pdf which “provide for interventions by the Union for human rights defenders at risk and suggest practical means of supporting and assisting human rights defenders.”

The Declaration defines a human rights defender as anyone who, individually or with others, working for the promotion and protection of human rights. At present, one of the issues facing human rights defenders is that they are often perceived by the government as, among others, “enemies of the State”, “terrorists” and “members of armed groups”.

This project aims to provide support for human rights defenders so that they can work safely and effectively, free from intimidation and reprisals. Likewise, the project will be implemented in key provinces/cities in the Philippines where human rights violations are rampant, and where human rights defenders have become targets of rights violations themselves by authorities, mining corporations and private landowners because of their work in exposing human rights abuses and support victims of human rights violations to seek redress.

The project has several major components: documentation and reporting of human rights violations cases; supporting human rights defenders and their families; legal action; capacity building; education and; advocacy and lobby.
For more information, please contact:

Jerbert M. Briola, Project Officer
Medical Action Group
129-D Matatag Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City
Mobile phone no. +63915-9629237
E-mail address: mag.1982@magph.org
jerbertph@yahoo.com

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