[Statement] PAHRA to the 5th Commission on Human Rights: have a firm grasp and sharp analysis of the human rights situation of the country

PAHRA to the 5th Commission on Human Rights: have a firm grasp and sharp analysis of the human rights situation of the country
June 19, 2015

This will serve as solid bases for the 5th CHR to map out your plan for the whole of your term as well as for your annual planning. There will always be a need for flexibility for unexpected incidents of human rights concerns that demand immediate responses.

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This first challenge includes a comprehensive assessment of what has been done by the 4th Commission and learn from lessons both positive and negative. Such action would be a precedent that should be made a tradition along with other duty-bearers reporting to their claimholders.

Broad, participative and transparent consultations are key to obtain to true and reliable information and data.

REVIEW AND STRENGTHEN OUR NHRI’S STRUCTURES, BOTH ON THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS FOR MORE APPROPRIATE, TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE RESPONSES TO SITUATIONS OF HR CONCERNS.

This is to finally overcome “bureaucratic inertia”, as well as eradicate the culture of patronage and retribution now embedded within the relationships between officers and the rank and file, and even between regular and co-terminus employees.

As 5th Commission you are inheriting an institutional legacy of the 4th Commission marked with a relatively widespread demoralization and discontent among personnel brought about by the unprecedented protest of more than a hundred officers and staff against a promotion of a person with questionable eligibility and done with “indecent haste”.

As the new Commission you have to resolve the issue of the Executive Director and his consequent actions objectively and with fairness to all. Doing so otherwise may affect the integrity and credibility of both the 5th Commission and the CHRP as institution.

There is need to revitalize the prime institution of human rights with appropriately-capacitated and committed personnel adhering above all to accepted HR principles and standards. Promotion should be based on merit and dedication to the promotion and protection of human rights.

INSTITUTIONALIZE CHRP-CSO RELATIONSHIP

After a presentation of the CHR’s Road Map in 2010 which included civil society human rights defenders participation in the NHRI’s planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, a tenet in the Paris Principles, i.e., Section (g), that deal with the importance of national institutions establishing and maintaining close relations with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non- Government Organizations

(NGOs) working in the field of human rights, the Media and Civil Society Relations Office (MCSRO) directly under the Office of the Chairperson was established. For the whole term of the 4th Commission it was non-functional. The office and the intent withered away.

There is urgent need to institutionalize CHR-CSO relationship so as to converge personnel, capabilities, resources and efforts to break through impunity and advance human rights. Furthermore, the deputization or deputation of CSO-HRDs is long awaiting final approval.

The ARMM Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) has moved ahead when it institutionalize its relationship with the Bangsamoro civil society human rights defenders. The newly formed NHRI of Mongolia has in its brochure its own institutionalized structure with their civil society.

The Commissioners of the 5th Commission will find all the ingredients at their disposal not only to catch up if used judiciously, but also to move ahead.

CONDUCT A THOROUGH AND SUSTAINED MONITORING OF STATE COMPLIANCE OF ITS OBLIGATIONS TO ENABLE TIMELY INTERVENTIONS.

A broadening participative process is being presently achieved in making both joint (government, CHR, CSOs) and independent or alternative Universal Periodic Review reports and even in the submitted reports to the eight international human rights treaties to which the Philippines is a State Party.

The 5th Commission need to monitor priority human rights issues or situations which have long been the environ for the culture of impunity. The land issue is one. Many extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture ensued from land conflicts. The CHR had no thorough and sustained monitoring of the obligations of the State in fulfilling the land rights of thousands of peasants as contained in CARP and later in CARPER.

A thorough and sustained monitoring with timely intervention in highly volatile areas where extractive industries intrude into indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and domains could prevent impunity. People or community rights-based monitoring mechanisms can be jointly set up by CHR, CSOs and local government units together with the security forces. These local monitoring mechanisms (LMMs) can supplement one of the main tasks of an NHRI.

PAHRA as claimholders are only too willing to converge their commitment to dignity and human rights with that of the members of the 5th Commission and of the NHRI’s officers and staff to end impunity and advance a culture of human rights.
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
53-B Maliksi St. Bgy. Pinyahan
Quezon City, Philippines (1100)
Tel/fax (632) 436-26-33
Mobile : 0906-553-1792
E-mail: pahra@philippinehumanrights.org
Fb account: philippinehumanrights
Website: http://www.philippinehumanrights.org
Twitter : @PAHRAhr
Skype : pahra1986

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