[Press Release] KaSaMa Embassies support Human Rights Defenders in Post-Disaster Work -DAKILA

KaSaMa Embassies support Human Rights Defenders in Post-Disaster Work

KaSaMa (Karapatan sa Malikhaing Paraan), an inter-embassy and multi-stakeholder human rights initiative, and the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), in partnership with Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism and Philippines Communitere through the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, held a forum on “Human Rights in Post-Disaster Work” and launched the “Defend the Defenders Program” last June 10 at Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban City.

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The event was attended by around 50 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in the Post-Haiyan rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas and was graced by Knut-Are Sprauten Okstad, Chargés d’affaires of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Representative of KaSaMa member embassy, Carlo Figueroa of the Canadian Embassy also attended the forum.

In his message, Chargés d’affaires of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Knut-are Sprauten Okstad said, “The promotion of human rights is a key component of Norway’s foreign and development policy. Norway recognizes the vital work that human rights defenders contribute in the human rights work. All over the world, human rights defenders are being attacked on a daily basis for defending the rights of others. Many human rights defenders are therefore in need of protection due to their work.”

Knut-are Okstad further said “Norway believes that respect and support for the activities of human rights defenders is essential to the overall enjoyment of human rights thus it supports and encourages a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate freely. The Defend the Defenders Program of the ALG is very important especially in the context of post-Haiyan here in the Eastern Philippines.”

The Alternative Law Groups’ (ALG) Program for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Defenders Working on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights or the Defending the Human Rights Defenders Program is a funding mechanism for activities that seek to protect the country’s defenders of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) against threatened or actual abuses and rights violations that they encounter in relation to their advocacy work.

According to Atty. Marlon Manuel, National Coordinator of the Alternative Law Groups, “The ALG saw the need to recognize the work of those who defend human rights in the context of post-disaster rehabilitation, as well as to provide them the same protective rights that they actively pursue for others. We are fortunate that KaSaMa and the Royal Norwegian Embassy have always been supportive of projects like this.”

The Human Rights Defenders Program supports activities that build the capacity of the defenders and their communities on aspects of security measures, support for those who need to move out of their community on account of threats and assistance in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings in strategic lawsuits against public participation and harassment suits filed against defenders.

This project was initiated by KaSaMa, an inter-embassy consortium on human rights which encourages innovation, risk-taking, and determination in addressing perennial human rights issues. KaSaMa believes that “human rights violations are not only an affront to citizens of countries but to humanity as a whole,” hence providing support through funding local human rights civil society groups.

The next KaSaMa roadshow is scheduled in Davao City on June 23, targeting CSOs working in the peace building and in conflict areas.

10 June 2014

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