Tag Archives: Human Right Day

[Event] KaSaMa 2012 – The Search For Innovative Human Rights Projects 2012

KaSaMa 2012 – The Search For Innovative Human Rights Projects 2012


Addressing perennial human rights issues in the Philippines takes on a different twist as Karapatan sa Malikhaing Paraan (KaSaMa) begins anew the Search for Innovative Philippine Human Rights Initiatives.

First launched in 2009, KaSaMa is a funding initiative by international partners to support projects that provide a new take on addressing human rights issues in the Philippines. The first two rounds has seen more than 400 proposals submitted, with a total of 25 projects funded by the partners, amounting to almost 30 million pesos. Proposals were selected primarily based on the innovation and creativity of the project ideas.

KaSaMa is once again inviting all civil society organizations to submit innovative human rights proposals. This year, it is focused on funding projects that address the following themes/areas: extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, women and gender, indigenous peoples and other minorities, human trafficking, human rights-based disaster risk management, educating human rights defenders, media freedom, suffrage, security sector reform, judicial reform and disability rights.

KaSaMa is open to all registered private, non-profit, Filipino organizations based in the Philippines. Guidelines and applications forms, as well as information about the past KaSaMa projects, can be downloaded at http://www.kasama.ph. Entries can be written in English or Filipino. The screening will pay attention mainly on the innovative substance of the project and its contribution to improving the human rights situation. Linkages with the government sector such as LGU or Commission on Human Rights are highly encouraged. Selected proposals stand to get as much as Php 1 Million Pesos worth of project grant. Proposals can be submitted via email, courier mail, or personally handed to the secretariat. Deadline for submission of entries is on January 15, 2013.

KaSaMa 2012 will have its Public Launch on December 3, 2012, 2:00PM at the Amphitheater, Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

The current round of KaSaMa has seen more international partners onboard: Australian Embassy, British Embassy, Embassy of Canada, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, United States Embassy, The Asia Foundation, New Zealand Embassy, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Spanish Embassy, and the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.

KaSaMa 2012 is being implemented by a consortium secretariat composed of the Ateneo Human Rights Center, the Ateneo School of Government, and the Caucus of Development NGO Networks.

For inquiries, please contact the KaSaMa Secretariat at (02) 920-2920, (02) 426-6001 local 4644 or email at info@kasama.ph / kasama2012.secretariat@gmail.com.






[Statement] Strong rights, no remedy -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission on the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2012

PHILIPPINES: Strong rights, no remedy

Asian Human Rights CommissionThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released its 15-page report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines this year. The report, titled “Strong rights, no remedy,” gave detailed analysis on the absence, if not lack of adequate remedy and redress to any forms of violation of rights in the country’s system of justice. The report is written in seven sections and each section gives analyses of the important events which took place this year, and by examining old cases and new cases it has documented, it evaluates what impact it has had on protection of rights.

The discourse on protection of rights, or the lack of it, in the Philippines has been very challenging in recent past. There is a strong perception–domestically and internationally–of the governments political will to protect rights. But whether their public statements and policy of protection of rights are translated into reality to the daily lives of the people who suffer have been questionable. There are rights, like freedom from torture, with no legal remedy in the past, now they have; perpetrators of gross human rights violations, like former president Gloria Arroyo and the military generals during her term, who could not be prosecuted in the past, are now being prosecuted.

The government has been engaged in legislating and ratifying domestic and international human rights treaties respectively, but in practice none of those accused of torture have been punished. Events and developments like this have resulted to renewed confidence on the government. By examining empirical cases, it is clear that there is a fundamental breakdown in the country’s system of protection as described below.

Convicted chief justice & the court judges
This section examines the impact of the conviction of Renato Corona, former chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC) in an impeachment trial for his non-disclosure of his assets, on the discourse of judicial accountability and corruption amongst the judges in the lower courts all over the country. Corona’s conviction has restored the confidence of the public on the executive and legislative for exercising their role as co-equal branches in safeguarding corrupt practices and abuses.

But Corona could be impeached and punished; however, in practice judges in lower courts subordinate to him breached due process rules and fundamental principles of fair trial as they exercise of their duty daily. Judges ignoring orders by the SC, admitting evidence taken by way of forced confession and torture, conniving with prosecutors in fabricating charges against human rights and political activists, delaying trial of cases, and others subverting due process is very common. They were never punished.

Old and new cases: no arrest, remedy
This section explains why the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of Persons, which President Benigno Aquino III, is doomed to fail. This body, with a fresh mandate to investigate old and new cases, only repeats the ritual of creating task forces and special investigation bodies.

The inability and failure of similar special task forces before, notably the Task Force 211 in November 2007, to ensure that its prosecution based on the special investigation they earlier had conducted would result to conviction, identification of the accused and conclusion of cases, questions the competence and credibility to this new ‘super body’. Also, the inability of the authorities to arrest former General Jovito Palparan and his accomplices for the enforced disappearance of activists despite the increases reward money for his arrest clearly illustrates that even if court issues arrest orders, perpetrators would not arrested.

If Palparan and other powerful and influential politicians, who had been identified as masterminding targeted attacks of human rights and political activists in high profile case could not be arrested despite being known in the country, it means the possibility of prosecuting perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and disappearances where the perpetrators are not identified–like the death squad in Davao City–is non-existent. Thus, the recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to hold local officials accountable in Davao City would be meaningless.

Cycle of rights violations: massacre, killings, torture & disappearance
As expected, massacres and other forms of horrible violations happened this year, too. But these cases are no different to earlier documented cases that remain unresolved. If the perpetrators in the Maguindanao massacre in November 2009, after three years of trial, are still unpunished and other perpetrators remain at large, it would not be surprising that the massacre that documented this year, notably that of Capion family in October 18 in Tampakan, South Cotabato, would not be resolved, too.

One of the complainants in the case of the Maguindanao massacre, Myrna Reblando, widow of journalist Alejandro ‘Bong’ Reblando, had to leave the country for lack of adequate protection. Not only her that is being targeted, there have been potential witnesses who had been killed before they could testify, families of the victims offered bribe, if not being continuously being the object of threats and harassment with the deliberate intent for them to withdraw their complaint. They have no protection.

No remedy, redress: they be Filipinos or not
In the past, there are probabilities of prompt and effective intervention when foreign governments and their people take action from abroad on human rights issues. In this section it explains that even in cases of foreign nationals, Wilhelm Geertman and Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio who were murdered on July 3, 2012 and October 17, 2011 in the country respectively, perpetrators are either unpunished or unidentified.

Wilhelm and Fr. Fausto had lived and worked for decades with the poor and vulnerable communities. If cases of these persons, who has representation from their foreign governments and pressures from their own people back home had not resulted to adequate remedy, will cases of Filipinos in their own country have? This section demonstrates numerous cases without remedies regardless of the identity and personal background of the victims. No remedy be they Filipino or not.

Prospects in the emerging justice system: Bangsamoro political entity
The signing of agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government on “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” offers prospects of peace and building of democratic institutions that would address the aspirations of the struggle of the Muslims in the south. The real challenge is how to build institutions of justice that would address the grievance of the Muslims who are often the usual suspects in terrorist activities after decades of subjugation.

This section draws the old experience on how cases of torture, arbitrary detention and fabrication of charges, had been committed with the operation of justice system—the police, prosecutors and judiciary. These lessons should be learned. Thus, it is important that fair trial and due process is to be fundamental values in this emerging justice institution in the proposed political entity if this agreement for political settlement on the Mindanao question is to survive.

Rights in the Philippines: on paper, not in practice
This section explains that by its legislation of domestic law and ratifying international human rights treaties, the government succeeded in making it appear on paper that not only it has ‘political will’ it is also a ‘champion of human rights.’ The perception it has created and ‘diplomatic victory’ is has obtained in doing so, has changed the landscaped of human rights discourse into becoming even more difficult. The government’s records is being reviewed, not how in reality it afforded or not afforded remedy to violations of rights, but how many domestic laws, human rights treaties it has signed; and public statements of its government officials reaffirming protection of rights.

In conclusion, it is clear that without changes as to how the institutions of justice – police, prosecution and the judiciary – operate to ensure adequate protection of rights, there is no possibility that rights on paper would have remedy. If the very fabric of the system of protection of rights is flawed, no rights would have the possibility of obtaining any remedies.

This report is available at

Read this statement online

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Visit our new website with more features at http://www.humanrights.asia.

December 11, 2012

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[In the news] On Human Rights Day, rights groups slam Aquino government for violations – Bulatlat

On Human Rights Day, rights groups slam Aquino government for violations – Bulatlat.
December 13, 2012

bulatlatMANILA – “We have likewise set on fire whatever is left of the chances for positive change we gave Pres. Noynoy Aquino in the past two years. He did not only squander the opportunity for change but has also pushed our patience to the limit, with all the rights violations his regime has committed against the people,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan, said.

This was the statement of the Karapatan chairperson as they set fire on the effigy of President Benigno Aquino III.

The seven-foot two-faced effigy, according to Karapatan, “symbolizes the twin evils of large-scale mining and intensified military operations in peasant and indigenous peoples’ communities.”

Under Aquino, there are now 129 victims of extrajudicial killings, where 69 were farmers and 25 indigenous peoples. Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said most victims in Mindanao are anti-mining activists and Lumad leaders who “defend their land and the environment against the intrusion of big foreign mining corporations.”

Read full article @ bulatlat.com

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[Featured Video] Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights -PH TakeBacktheTech

Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights [Philippines – Full Version]

Take back the techDuring the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2012, a feminist flashmob dance to the tune of “I am Woman” led by World March of Women – Pilipinas was held at Plaza Miranda (in front on Quiapo Church, Manila, PH), at noon.

Women dancers-activists first blended with the vendors, with some holding balloons, as fortune-tellers, beggars, etc. Three dancers started clapping to the tune of the music, then seven dancers joined releasing purple balloons bearing the logo of the World March of Women. They were joined by another 20 coming from the crowd, until it grew to 70. The last batch of dancers, students from the University of the Philippines –Manila made it a throng. On the last minute of the song, as steps turned to hip-hop, dancers took off their costumes, revealing white shirts which defiantly bore words “RH Now” in the face of continued delay in its passage in Congress. Some shirts shout “Climate Justice!”, in the face of ongoing negotiations in Doha, Qatar and the devastation of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. Other shirts carried slogans such as “Women Need FOI!”, “Secure Jobs for All!” and “Scrap VFA!”

Around 100 participated in the flashmob from Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bagong Kamalayan, Batis Center for Women, Buklod, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Foundation for Media Alternatives, KAISA – Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan – UP Diliman, KAISA-KA, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido ng Manggagawa, Sarilaya, TIGRA Philippines, UP Manila students, WomanHealth Philippines, Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), and Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)


This Video Production is part of 16 days x 16 stories of Take Back the Tech campaign
Produced by Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Editor: Hazel Tan
Videographers: Eric Sister, Hazel Tan, Johanna Acielo, Hazel of Sarilaya

Here is a vimeo version of this video – http://vimeo.com/55371741

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All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Statement] “Matuwid na Daan” gone astray… Cybercrime law affront to Human Rights -HRonlinePH.com

“Matuwid na Daan” gone astray… Cybercrime law affront to Human Rights

hronlinephJose W. Diokno said it well: Human rights are not mere legal concepts they are part of the human essence. Their violation is not the mere taking away of a man has. It is taking away of what a man is.

It is a pleasant thought but one that gets to be pondered only on occasions such as the Human Rights Day. The celebration of Human Rights Day today is cast against the background of more threatening concerns generated by P-Noy’s “Matuwid na Daan” which gone astray as well as that of the administration’s penchant on attacking civil liberty like the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175. Thus this occasion however speaks of a terrible irony we have in our midst. As we celebrate Human Rights Day, lest we forget in the flurry of praying, candle lighting and speeches, is the danger posed by the Cybercrime Law to our civil liberties and to enjoyment of our human rights.

While the Cybercrime Law is designed to go after online crimes, “the provisions of the law that extend to libel and ‘other offenses’ violate established global norms of free expression.” The Philippines’ existing libel law is vague, criminalizing any speech deemed ‘critical,’ including information criticizing the government or other authorities.”

The right to information opens the door to all other human rights, as the core principles of human rights are interdependent and indivisible. Internet has become a vital communications tool which individuals can use to exercise their right to freedom of expression and, exchange information and ideas. Indeed, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a landmark resolution in June 2012 supporting freedom of expression on the Internet.

We at the HRonlinePH use the Internet as viable platform in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. We recognized that freedom of expression can be restricted in very exceptional cases like expression such as child pornography, violence against women, incitement to genocide, discrimination, hostility or violence and incitement to terrorism are all prohibited under international laws and statutes.

Some governments are using increasing sophisticated technologies which are often hidden from the public censor online content and monitor and identify individuals who disseminate critical information about the government, which more often than not lead to arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals. But the attempt to restrict Internet freedom must be in accordance with international human rights standards and must pursue legitimate grounds for restriction as set out in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and “be proven to be necessary and proportionate.”

We should amplify our voice and increase our ranks in putting the Cybercrime Law back from the brink. The government should instead enact laws to protect human rights and to end impunity like the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law, the Freedom of Information Act and the bill providing compensation to victims of human rights violations under Marcos regime.

We call on the Filipinos to stand up and defend our Right to Freedom of Expression, our Human Rights.

[Statement] by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Human Rights Day – 10 December 2012

Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Human Rights Day – 10 December 2012

source: ohchr.org

source: ohchr.org

Millions of people have gone on to the streets over the past few years, in countries all across the world, emboldened by what is happening elsewhere, some demanding civil and political rights, others demanding economic, social and cultural rights.

This groundswell is not simply a question of people demanding freedom of expression and freedom to say what they think and make clear what they want.

They are asking for much more than that. They are asking for an end to a situation where governments simply decide what is best for their populations without even consulting them. They are asking for their right to participate fully in the important decisions and policies affecting their daily lives, at the international, national and the local levels. Many people in many countries have been making it clear they are fed up with their leaders treating them with disdain and ignoring their needs, ambitions, fears and desires.

They have been, in effect, asking for what has been, for more than sixty years, under international law, rightfully theirs. They have been asking for the human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which is commemorated every year on 10 December – and subsequently fleshed out in other binding international treaties.

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Every person shall have the right to vote and be elected, and to have access to public service, as well as to free expression, assembly and association. These are among the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which 167 States are party. And they have been restated in many similar ways in other laws and documents.

These rights are supposed to apply to everyone. No one should be excluded from any of them because they are female, belong to a minority, or worship a certain religion; or because they are gay, have a disability, have particular political beliefs, are migrants or belong to a certain racial or ethnic group. We all should have a voice that counts in our societies. We should all have free, active and meaningful participation in both economic and political affairs.

Unfortunately, many people don’t.

Instead they are ignored. Or, worse, they are actively persecuted, and the people who are trying to help them gain their rights – the human rights defenders – are intimidated, threatened, and persecuted as well. Sometimes, it is less deliberate, more insidious: certain individuals or groups are simply not given the opportunity: the opportunity to raise their voice, or use their brains and talents to achieve the successes of which they are capable, to climb out of poverty or achieve high office – or even any office.

Many millions of people cannot even dream of aiming high, they just dream of getting by – of surviving until tomorrow.

That may be because they have not been to school, or because they have no health care, no adequate shelter, insufficient food, and none of the basic rights and services that would give them the opportunity to build a better future.

Or it may be because they are specifically excluded from seizing opportunities by discriminatory laws or practices. Or because, through no fault of their own, they are stateless, citizens of nowhere, and therefore not only do not have a voice, but do not officially exist.

Or it may simply be because their leaders are so focused on their own grip on power and wealth that they simply don’t care what happens to those whose lives they govern. They’ll give just enough to keep people quiet and stop them protesting. If they are obstinate and raise their voice, they will lock them up, torture them or find other ways to distract them, silence them or make them disappear.

But in the past two years, people in many countries have raised the stakes, and made it clear that “just enough” is no longer good enough. In many countries, they have confronted their governments head on, not just in the Middle East and North Africa, but in other parts of the world as well, on issues covering the full range of fundamental civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights.

In a number of countries in recent months, we have continued to see the most extreme examples of rights being trampled underfoot. Many thousands of men, women and children tortured to death, raped, bombed, shelled, shot, forced from their homes, deprived of food, water, electricity and health care by their own governments or by armed groups, apparently intent on nothing more than their own hold on power. These are governments and non-state actors who are continuing to behave in a way that is the complete antithesis of everything we celebrate on Human Rights Day.

Today, I salute all those who have suffered so much seeking what is rightfully theirs, and all those people in other countries who in their own way – whether it is in Santiago or Cairo, Athens or Moscow, New York or New Delhi – are also saying we have a voice, we have our rights and we want to participate in the way our societies and economies are run.

Because that is how it should be.

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.