‘Reveal clear human rights platform’, Amnesty urged presidential bets
Amnesty International Philippines asked presidential aspirants to make public commitments to protect human rights if and when they are elected president in the coming May 2016 elections.
“We wrote letters to presidentiables asking them to respond to our 5-point Human Rights Agenda. These recommendations are based on Amnesty International’s long-standing research into human rights violations under successive governments in the Philippines. While most issues were tackled by previous administrations, we believe that in order to sustain any progress achieved in critical areas, an incoming strong leadership with clear human rights agenda is essential. Unfortunately, this challenge has not been accepted as Amnesty International Philippines has yet to receive word from the offices of presidential candidates regarding their human rights platform,” explained Ritz Lee Santos, III, Amnesty International Philippines Chairperson.
Amnesty International disclosed its dismal rating on the current administration’s approach to issues such as ending extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests, secret detention, enforced disappearances, and torture.
“President Benigno Aquino failed to issue an executive order showing his commitment to ending enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. There is also little progress in establishing accountability over the military, police and other state forces for human rights violations. Not one perpetrator of torture had been punished. The Aquino administration also fell short in reviewing the Witness Protection Program and revoking Executive Order No. 546 directing the police to support the military in its counterinsurgency work. As in our 2010 recommendations, these are still included in our 5-point Human Rights Agenda for 2016,” said Santos.
Amnesty International Philippines said that their recommendations are practical and time-bound referring to the incoming president’s first 100 days and first year in office which also included ensuring the safe and voluntary return of the internally displaced, embedding human rights protection in the peace process, ratifying key treaties on human rights and international humanitarian laws and making human rights a priority integrated across all government bodies.
“These are not new issues. We have been adamant in calling the government to address these for years. It is surprising to note that despite the fact that most of the top presidentiables are still incumbent officials, they were not able to give an outright response to our challenge. It is only less than six months before the May 2016 elections, if until now none of them are able to answer even to one of our five points, we can only deduce that human rights might not be in the centerpiece of their governance. And this is unacceptable. A leadership that does not adhere to the principles of human rights poses a graver future for this country,” concluded Santos.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PHILIPPINES
07 December 2015
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