[From the web] Committee on ESCR hears from human rights institutions and CSOs from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic -OHCHR

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights hears from human rights institutions and civil society organizations from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic

Civil society organizations from the Philippines

ohchrInternational Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement on behalf of three non-governmental organisations, said that the Philippines ranked as the second most dangerous country in the world in terms of the number of murdered human rights defenders, and as one of the most dangerous to be a land and environmental defender, with 25 deaths alone in 2015 belonging to the indigenous communities.  Economic, social and cultural rights defenders continued to suffer threats, harassment and attacks. The criminalisation of defenders, used to silence them and protect business interests, had increased. Many were subject to judicial harassment.

FIAN-Philippines said that the irony of growth without human development was sadly seen in the Philippines. Despite being Asia’s second fastest-growing economy, hunger and poverty persisted in the country.  FIAN focused on several urgent issues, including the lack of a right to food and nutrition law; the inadequate implementation of the Land Reform Programme, the Law to Modernize Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Law on Indigenous Peoples Rights; and the exacerbation of the poverty situation of citizens due to natural disasters. The Government had to consider climate change mitigation. Finally, there had to be an assessment of the insurance-based systems on social protection.

Defend Job Philippines stated that, since the passage of the Wage Rationalisation Act of 1989, and the Herrera Law, violation of workers’ rights had been made legal and systematic. Wages were pinned down to starvation levels and the unemployment rate was left at 12 percent. To make matters worse, the passage of the Herrera Law attacked not only security of tenure but also other rights, such as fair wages, maternity benefits and union rights.  Workers worked 10-17 hours a day for a three to eight USD wage. There was no job security – only short term contracts or piece-rate system.  There were no benefits and cases of non-remittance of social security premiums were rampant.

E-Net said that the Philippines had ratified the main treaties protecting the right to education, however that right was far from being fulfilled for a large number of Filipinos, particularly the poorest and excluded groups.  Millions of children dropped out of school every year and only 75.3 percent completed six years of primary education.  Some 10 percent, or 6.9 million Filipinos, 10-64 years old, were functionally illiterate in 2013.

TEBTEBBA-Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education noted that there continued to be a serious lack of data on the number of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. There were also serious rights violations of indigenous peoples due to mining activities. Medium and large-scale corporate mining and conflicting laws governing natural resources were major problems that indigenous peoples faced in their communities. The free, prior and informed consent process was being manipulated in favour of mining corporations.

DINTEG-Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Centre was concerned about the extrajudicial killings related to the war on drugs. It asked the Committee to say something in that regard. It also asked the Committee to ask the Government about the lack of trust among indigenous peoples with respect to the National Commissions for Indigenous Peoples,

Center for Reproductive Rights, in a joint statement with six other organisations, noting the positive steps on women’s rights to reproductive health services, said that the State party had failed to fully and immediately implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.  In addition, a reduction in the budget for family planning had been made. The Philippines was the only country where there was a rise in teenage pregnancies. There were more than half a million abortions conducted in spite of the abortion ban, which was one of the leading causes of maternal deaths. The Centre urged the Committee to question the State party about access to contraceptive information and services, abortion, and post-abortion care. – See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20585&LangID=E#sthash.Q0hPTIxI.dpuf

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