Tag Archives: UNHRC

[Statement] Justice and accountability are non-negotiable

#HumanRights #Justice and #accountability are non-negotiable

We are extremely disappointed with Human Rights Council Resolution #45 as it is a collective failure and it falls short of our expectation of an international, independent investigation into the gross violations of human rights in the country.

The bloodbath continues even under the different modes of quarantine during the current Covid-19 pandemic. There is no let-up in the harassment, red-tagging, arrests and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and suspected drug dependents.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) correctly noted in its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council last year that the killings appear to be “systematic and widespread” with no accountability taking place.

Impunity reigns as perpetrators are able to commit extrajudicial killings even in the most severe of lockdowns from March to June of 2020.
The adverse international reactions to the violations happening in the Philippines have spurred the Philippine government to conduct a diplomatic and public relations campaign to thwart any initiative at an international independent investigation.

The Duterte administration feigns innocence with the extrajudicial killings after publicly encouraging and abetting its widespread commission for more than three years.

The Philippine government is remiss in its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Its failure to protect its citizens from killers with more than 30,000 EJKs speaks eloquently of its non-commitment to human rights.

Sadly, accountability and justice have been reduced to technical cooperation and capacity building.

We take note of the continuing monitoring of government compliance to its human rights obligations. We will continue to engage with the UN mechanisms and other avenues to seek redress for the continuing bloodbath in the country.

Justice and accountability are non-negotiable.

Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) Franciscans International (FI), Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (SCLF) Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

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[Press Release] Philippine human rights groups disappointed at the UNHRC resolution on the Philippines -PAHRA, iDEFEND

#StopTheKillings [Press Release] Philippine #humanrights groups disappointed at the UNHRC resolution on the Philippines

Quezon City- Human Rights groups belonging to the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) expressed disappointment at the resolution of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council on the Philippines. The resolution offered technical cooperation and capacity building to the Philippine government in response to the widespread killings and grave human rights violations, which comprise the findings of the report of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights last June.

“We have been communicating and advocating with the UN Human Rights Council since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016 and we have exposed a pattern of systematic killings under the war on drugs; said Ms. Rose Trajano, Secretary-General of PAHRA and convenor of iDEFEND, “our reports as well as those from other CSOs enabled the International Criminal Court to launch a preliminary inquiry into the cases of extrajudicial killings, yet the UNHRC has decided to follow a lesser path” Trajano added.

“The fact that killings increased during the period of quarantine including those of human rights defenders, prompted the European Parliament to pass a resolution threatening to review the trade privileges of the Philippines with the European Union. It is lamentable that precisely when the international community is responding to the report of the High Commissioner, the UNHRC has taken a step back”, said Ms. Judy Pasimio, iDEFEND Spokesperson.

The groups said that the government aggressively lobbied to weaken the international body’s response to the human rights crises, by emphasizing its struggle with the current pandemic and by effectively tagging human rights defenders as terrorists who have “weaponized human rights”.

In a live-streamed discussion, panelists said the Council’s resolution may be sending the wrong signal to the government.

“What’s dangerous is that the government was able to peddle its justification for this kind of outcome and is now emboldened because the international community seemed to accept the government’s message that domestic mechanisms are working,” said Joseph Purugganan, head of the Philippine office of the Focus on the Global South.

Philippine groups and their international counterparts have been campaigning for an independent international investigation into the human rights crisis in the country. The discussion’s panelists said that the only way technical cooperation can gain any credibility among the people is if the killings and violence are stopped immediately.

In a statement delivered at the 45th UNHRC session, international NGOs concluded that “This is a collective failure by the States at this Council. We are shocked by the lack of support for a more robust response.” They added that “The Council must be ready to live up to its responsibility to ensure an independent investigation if the killings and the crackdown on civil society do not immediately end.”

iDEFEND and PAHRA vowed to continue to fight for human rights and engage domestic and international human rights mechanisms until justice is realized for all victims of human rights violations.

On Thursday, October 8, 2020, at 4:00 in the afternoon, iDEFEND and PAHRA will have a live-streamed discussion on the implications of the resolution, the processes involved in the technical cooperation, and the role of the UN resident coordinator in the Philippines. Invited speakers are from the Commission on Human Rights, the UN Resident Coordinator to the Philippines, EJK victims’ families, and CSOs. Invitations to the media will follow.

Contact: Neca Reyes 09237280690

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[From the web] UN resolution a missed chance for justice but scrutiny continues -AIph

#HumanRights #StopTheKillings [From the web] UN resolution a missed chance for justice but scrutiny continues

The resolution on the Philippines adopted by the UN Human Rights Council today is a missed opportunity to seek justice for thousands of unlawful killings, said Amnesty International.

Rather than launching the much-needed comprehensive investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, the UN resolution – led jointly by Iceland and the Philippines – requests the UN Human Rights Office to support the Philippines through ‘technical assistance’. This assistance will be focused on areas including accountability; data gathering of violations by the police; civic space; counter-terrorism legislation, and a rights-based approach to drug control.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines warrants more than just ‘technical assistance’ from the UN. A full international investigation to effectively address the pervasive impunity in the country is urgently needed,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Philippines Researcher at Amnesty International.

The resolution falls far short of repeated calls by civil society and UN experts for an independent, international investigation into the serious ongoing human rights violations in the country, including the thousands of extrajudicial executions perpetrated by police and vigilantes linked to them in the context of the so-called “war on drugs”.

“The Human Rights Council failed to advance justice for bereaved families across the Philippines who had placed their hopes in the international community,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

“This weak resolution also lets down the brave human rights defenders, journalists and others who have engaged with the UN in good faith and pursue their work at huge personal risk.”

Amnesty International has seen a continued deterioration of the human rights situation in the Philippines over the last few months. Major warning signs include ongoing incitement to kill by President Duterte, the promotion to national police chief of Lt Gen Camilo Cascolan, an alleged architect of the deadly anti-drug campaign, and the adoption of a dangerous anti-terror law. In June 2020, well-known journalist Maria Ressa was convicted for ‘cyber libel’, and a month after, major media network ABS-CBN was shut down. There is also a new spike in police killings, and there have been brutal murders of human rights and political activists and of a journalist in recent months.

This critical state of affairs was detailed by Amnesty International in a briefing published last week, “My Job is to Kill”, named after a speech by President Duterte in March 2020.

“The states that negotiated with the Philippines to agree to this resolution have a responsibility to launch a full international investigation if there is no radical improvement in the human rights situation in the country. These states face a credibility test: how will they respond if the bloody wave of killings continue, and the brutal crackdown on civil society and the media rages on?”

Despite its major shortcomings, the resolution includes measures that task the UN Human Rights Office to continue to provide updates to the Council over the next two years.

“The decision to keep the Philippines on the Council’s agenda sends a clear message to the Duterte administration that the international community is still watching,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

“The months to come must see an immediate end to the wave of drug-related killings, the cessation of violent attacks against critics of the government, as well as a halt to the crackdown on press freedom in the Philippines.

“While the government’s tactics to delay an international investigation may have worked this time, the moment will come when justice will be done.”

Read full article @www.amnesty.org

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[Statement] National and International NGOs urge Human Rights Council to respond credibly to damning OHCHR report on the Philippines

ORAL STATEMENT

HRC45 – Item 4: General Debate

25 September 2020

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NGOS URGE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO RESPOND CREDIBLY TO DAMNING OHCHR REPORT ON THE PHILIPPINES

UN Human Rights Council

Forty-fifth session

14 September – 7 October 2020

 

Madam President,

 

I speak on behalf of 35 organisations, deeply concerned by the situation in the Philippines. We urge this Council to respond credibly to the grave findings and recommendations of the recent OHCHR report.

Developments since that report indicate further deterioration, with ongoing incitement to kill by the President, the promotion of an architect of the anti-drug strategy to police chief, the passing of an overbroad anti-terror law ripe for abuse, the conviction of journalist Maria Ressa and shutdown of media network ABS-CBN, the murder of activists and a journalist and a new spike in police killings.

In terms of cooperation, the Philippines refused access to OHCHR in the preparation of the report and continues to bar entry to Special Procedures. The Secretary-General and High Commissioner have raised significant concerns over reprisals. The Government does not acknowledge widespread and systematic killings as a problem, in fact it encourages them and rejects the OHCHR’s findings. Serious violations continue.

The Government’s announced Inter-Agency Panel lacks any transparency and directly involves branches of Government implicated in these abuses. As such, it clearly cannot satisfy international standards of independence,[1]nor can it be seen as credible or safe for victims to engage with.

Madam President,

Our organisations have urged and continue to urge this Council to launch an independent international investigation.

The High Commissioner has clearly asked the Council to renew her mandate to monitor and report on the wider situation, as well as to provide technical cooperation to “implement the report’s recommendations,” and “continue to pursue accountability”. We urge this Council – at absolute minimum – to ensure continued monitoring and reporting on all aspects of the situation as clearly recommended by the High Commissioner. Anything less would not only be an insult to victims and their families, but send a green light to perpetrators that they can continue with impunity, with disastrous consequences on the ground.

Thank you.

 

Co-signatories:

– Action Network Human Rights Philippines (AMP)

– Amnesty International

– Article 19

– Child Alert Mindanao

– Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC)

– CIVICUS Alliance

– Coalition Against Summary Executions

– Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)

– Franciscans International

– Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

– Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)

– Freedom House

– Harm Reduction International

– Human Rights Watch

– In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)

– International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)

– International Commission of Jurists

– International Drug Policy Consortium

– International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

– International Service for Human Rights

– Karapatan Alliance Philippines

– Medical Action Group

– National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

– Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NakPhil)

– Partnership Mission for People’s Initiatives (PMPI)

– Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

– Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)

– Philippine Human Rights Information Center

– Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns

– Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (SCLF)

– Tambayan

– The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

– Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

– World Council of Churches

– World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

[1] See for instance the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1989/65 of 24 May 1989; and Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 36 on the right to life (article 6).

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[Press Release] Human Rights Groups ask the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a strong resolution on the Philippines due to continuing human rights violations -PAHRA

Human Rights Groups ask the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a strong resolution on the Philippines due to continuing human rights violations

Quezon City- The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) appealed to the ongoing 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) asking for a strong resolution on the Philippines, following a renewed spate of killings in the country. The groups sought the establishment of an international investigation into the human rights crises in the country.

In a statement the groups cited new documented cases of ten killings between May to September 2020. Recalling the message of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to delegates of the HRC during the 44th Session in June, the groups said that the DOJ inter-agency panel Guevarra claimed to conduct investigations into EJKs is not credible:

“… the panel failed to meet international standards of independence and impartiality due to its member agencies’ main role in the implementation of the illegal drugs campaign. There has been no significant engagement with civil society and despite the signing of a memorandum with the Commission on Human Rights, no further movement has been observed from this panel. Thus, we find that this initiative of the Justice Department can only provide a smokescreen to the continuing bloody campaign.”

The groups said families of victims of the killings remain distrustful of the government, which keep them from cooperating in official inquiries, if any.
Also cited were reports of other human rights groups:
“Human Rights Watch found 155 persons killed in the past four months from government statistics. In addition, before the Covid-19 crisis, 103 persons were killed by the Police from December 2019 to March 2020.[1] ”

The message also raised the alarm on the terrorist-tagging of human rights personalities and organizations in the Philippines by the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the AFP.
Observations were also made of the pandemic response of the government:

“Adopting the drug war’s blueprint, the government’s implementation of a militarist response to an unprecedented public health crisis has exacerbated the people’s deprived living conditions. Communities which were traumatized by the summary killings, have been re-traumatized by the erection of checkpoints manned by soldiers and police, as well as severe punishments for lockdown violators.”

The groups called for the Council’s urgent action to follow up the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the Philippines in June.

“A strong resolution on the Philippines expresses the international community’s commitment to end impunity and to exact accountability against the perpetrators. A strong resolution serves to bring justice more closely to those who have been victims of the grave human rights violations; a strong resolution will provide crucial impetus to ending the attacks against human rights defenders.”

[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/08/killings-Philippines-50-percent-during-pandemic

PHILIPPINE ALLIANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES (PAHRA)
Unit-E 4th flr. Tempus II Place
Makatarungan St. Bgy Central Quezon City
E-mail: rightscomms1987@gmail.com
Website: https://philippinehumanrights.org

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[From the web] EU Member States Should Act on Philippines Abuses -HRW

EU Member States Should Act on Philippines Abuses
Support at UN Human Rights Council Crucial to Establish International Inquiry

Last year, European Union member states at the United Nations Human Rights Council voted decisively in support of a resolution mandating the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on grave rights abuses in the Philippines.

The report, presented in June, documented “widespread and systematic” extrajudicial killings, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, crimes committed in a climate of near total impunity; the murder of at least 208 human rights defenders between 2015 and 2019, and frequent threats and intimidation, police raids, arbitrary arrests, prosecutions, and shutdowns of civil society groups and media outlets.

The findings were unsurprising, confirming what has been previously documented by rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, and UN special experts. What has been surprising is the Human Rights Council’s reluctance to act on repeated calls for an independent international investigation into the extrajudicial killings and other abuses committed since 2016.

In a letter sent on August 27, 62 nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, reiterated their call for an independent international investigative mechanism on crimes committed in the Philippines. The groups also cautioned against giving credence to Manila’s recent creation of a panel to review more than 5,600 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country, as the panel includes the very agencies implicated in the abuses.

While the EU has repeatedly expressed concerns over serious abuses by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, it has not taken concrete action beyond the June 2019 vote. The Philippines benefit from the EU’s GSP+ scheme, which grants preferential access to the EU market conditional on the ratification and implementation of 27 international human rights, labor, and environmental treaties. Despite noting major backsliding in the country’s human rights record, the EU has so far refused to trigger the mechanisms that could lead to the suspension of the trade benefits.

The EU’s and member states’ support at the Human Rights Council will be necessary to advance prospects for justice in the Philippines. Setting up the mechanism would increase pressure on the Duterte administration to stop the abuses and cooperate meaningfully with the international community. And if the Philippine government fails to do so, it could eventually lead to the Philippines having its EU trade benefits suspended, as Cambodia’s abusive prime minister, Hun Sen, knows very well.

Read complete story @www.hrw.org

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[from the web] Understanding the UNHRC Resolution on human rights in the Philippines -PhilRights

A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that 60% of adult Filipinos agreed that the government should not block the investigation of international groups into drug-related killings.

While the result was a product of field interviews held in June for the pollster’s Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey, it coincided neatly with the July adoption of an Iceland-led resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The resolution requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to prepare and present a “comprehensive written report” on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Strong public support for international involvement and, correspondingly, the international community’s willingness to engage the Philippine government through the UN system both bode well in clarifying the State’s accountabilities on the thousands of killings that has occurred in relation to the so-called war on drugs as well as the general human rights situation in the country.

To further understand the resolution, and what it means for human rights in the Philippines under Pres. Duterte, PhilRights reached out to two key figures who were part of the mission in Geneva which lobbied for the resolution’s adoption: Ellecer Carlos, of the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), and Rose Trajano, of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA).

Click the link to read more:

Understanding the UNHRC Resolution on human rights in the Philippines

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[Statement] Human Rights scores one for a change – iDEFEND

Years of painstaking efforts to pursue justice for the victims of the war on drugs won a crucial headway today as the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution L20, seeking to report on the Philippines’ extrajudicial killings. The resolution, submitted by 39 countries headed by Iceland, urged the Philippine government to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, hold perpetrators accountable, and cooperate with Human Rights Council mechanisms such as facilitating the official visits of relevant experts. It also asked that the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a comprehensive written report on the Philippines at the Human Rights Council’s 44th Session in 2020.

For three years relatives of the victims of extrajudicial killings, have feared for their lives and safety. Justice remains elusive for the more than 27,000 suspects slain by Operation Tokhang, the 18,000 orphans it neglected, and the more than 100 children whom Duterte called collateral damage. Meanwhile perpetrators – police operatives in particular – continue to enjoy salary increases, impunity for their crimes, and an environment wherein they can threaten and intimidate families from filing charges. Unknown gunmen mostly riding-in-tandem on motorcycles are at large yet the police report their kills as achievements of the war on drugs.

Instead of preparing itself domestically towards cooperation with the Council inquiry, the government wasted taxpayers’ money by undertaking vilification and disinformation campaigns against states and human rights defenders. All these attacks only indicate that there are still no official legal processes addressing these crimes. Until the adoption of resolution L20 the Philippine government sought to mask the realities of extrajudicial killings in the country – the war on drugs is an authoritarian project designed to silence dissent, crackdown on critics, political opponents and human rights defenders and institutionalize martial rule towards amassing unbridled power for the ruling elite.

iDEFEND reminds the Philippine government of its avowed commitment to human rights protection when it sought a seat in the Human Rights Council in 2018. This resolution is a way to fulfill that vow concretely, at the same time it is an opportunity to review the violent anti-drug campaign in a human rights perspective. We urge the Philippine government to demonstrate a positive attitude toward the resolution, rise above narrow political considerations and conduct itself in a manner befitting of a member of the UN Human Rights Council, and fully cooperate with the international community.

This move is a step forward for the Philippines, which was once known as a beacon for democracy and freedom in Asia.

iDefend wishes to express its thanks the UN Human Rights Council for its steadfast support to the Filipino people, as well as to the international NGOs who have helped bring to international attention the human rights crisis in the Philippines. All together, let us hold the line for human rights and the pursuit of human dignity.

Read more @idefend.ph

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[In the news] Human rights group declares UN probe a victory for EJK victims -GMAnews

The In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement on Friday characterized the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs as a “huge victory” for the families of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Interviewed on Balitanghali on Friday, iDEFEND spokesperson Ellecer “Budit” Carlos said his organization, as well as other partners “shed tears” at the main session hall as the United Nations council adopted its resolution in Geneva.

“Malaking tagumpay ito para sa libo-libong mga pamilya na biktima ng extrajudicial killings diyan sa atin sa Pilipinas,” Carlos said.

Carlos pointed out that they had no other recourse but to seek accountability from the international community given the slow Philippine criminal justice system.

The UNHRC resolution, proposed by Iceland, was adopted after 18 countries voted in favor of it and 14 others, including China, voted against it. Fifteen other countries, including Japan, abstained.

iDEFEND was one of the groups that originally submitted a UNHRC petition seeking a review of the Philippine war on drugs.

Read more @www.gmanetwork.com

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[From the web] Iceland 1, China 0: The diplomatic significance of the U.N. Human Rights Council vote on the Philippines -RAPPLER.com

The UNHRC vote was the first great test of Duterte’s diplomatic investment in China, and it proved disastrous: China simply could not deliver the votes

The denouement of the United Nations Human Rights Council vote instructing its High Commissioner to “prepare a comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines” was as ridiculous as the vote was significant. President Rodrigo Duterte was left uttering his most nonsensical remarks ever, saying that the reason Iceland, the main sponsor, filed the resolution was because “they have nothing to eat in Iceland but ice.”

Philippines’ worst diplomatic defeat

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddyboy Locsin was left spluttering about “far reaching consequences” for the governments that had voted for the resolution. The consequences for Locsin are, however, anything but ridiculous. Duterte does not like being made a fool of, especially internationally, and it will not be surprising if Locsin, an amateur diplomat who has led the Philippine government to its worst diplomatic defeat ever, were to be replaced by a more experienced hand, according to Department of Foreign Affairs professionals who could barely conceal their glee at their titular boss’ humiliation.

Equally as significant as the setback of the Duterte administration was the stinging defeat of its main backer in the UNHRC: China. The optics, for one, were pretty bad: Iceland, one of the world’s smallest countries, had, in David versus Goliath fashion, drubbed the world’s largest. To governments across the board, the vote showed that Chinese diplomacy was, to use Mao Zedong’s words, a “paper tiger.”

Read more @www.rappler.com

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[Statement] Philippines does not belong to UNHRC – iDEFEND

Philippines does not belong to UNHRC – iDEFEND

The Philippines (Government) does not belong in the UN Human Rights Council and its membership must be rescinded or suspended for miserably failing to uphold human rights standards. The UN Human Rights Council should hold the GRP accountable to standards expected of members.

The Duterte administration continues to consciously and deliberately sustain the de facto social cleansing policy (War on Drugs) which results in the mass EJKs and the multi-fold human rights crisis which continue at the same rate. The Duterte administration continues to shield police officers and death squads from litigation and forces them to be more violent through forced quotas and reward systems. Duterte has vowed to slaughter thousands and continues to slaughter into the thousands.

Besides the Human Rights Calamity in the context of the War on Drugs, the crackdown on human rights defenders, political, social, environmental, land rights and indigenous peoples activists has been resulting in wholesale human rights violations including EJKs, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture. Another ugly head of the Duterte undeclared dictatorship is beginning to rear itself. Massive human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Mindanao which has been under Martial law since last year are starting to surface. The international community has been witness to Duterte waging a war on the poor, on the Rule of Law, on human rights and democracy.

The Duterte administration has also clearly been consolidating and advancing authoritarian rule, silencing all dissent and opposition and rendering Philippine democratic institutions ineffective.

To avoid accountability, Pres. Duterte attacked the very heart of the UN Human Rights System, verbally assaulting the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, members of the UNHRC Special procedures SR on EJEs and SR on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the SR on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also lodged attacks on the ICC prosecutor and foreign individuals who raised concerns about the mass human rights violations.

This was all done when the GRP was not just a member of the UNHRC but a Vice President of the body. The Philippine Government, simply put has not upheld the standards required of a UN Human Rights Council member. The GRP continues to refuse to cooperate with UN Special Procedures and mechanisms.

The Philippine Government should not be rewarded for what it has been doing but reprimanded and sanctioned. The GRP’s renewed membership in the UNHRC is overall detrimental to the Philippine human rights cause, our objectives to stop the Human Rights Crisis/the mass EJKs and prevent the resurgence of dictatorship. The GRP’s UNHRC membership only enables and emboldens President Duterte. This for us, is also part of the global stepping back for human rights.

The UNHRC memberships of the Philippines and other countries which continue to commit human rights atrocities has a severe impact on the UN Human Rights System as a whole. There is that matter of ‘seepage’ or the ‘breaking of taboos’. The War on Drugs EJK methods in the Philippines has been spilling over in other parts of the world, Sir Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia. By not taking any practical action on the Philippines (e.g., disallowing its UNHRC membership due to its massive violations) what message is the international community sending to would-be despots around the world who also want to make human life cheap and establish dictatorships? This event has clearly affected the integrity of the UN Human Rights System and reinforced those attacking human rights ideals and values all around the world.

The GRP won its re-election bid simply because not enough candidates ran, thus due to an absence of competition. It regained its seat during the 12 October elections due to a ‘clean slate’, not because of merit or upholding human rights standards. In short, it was practically assured a seat in the body. The Philippine Government clearly intends to make use of its renewed seat as a ‘whitewash’ and vantage point for defense and influence tool as it continues to pursue its kill programs in the Philippines.

Follow iDEFEND @
Website: iDEFEND.ph
Facebook: @iDEFENDofficial
Twitter: @idefendHR

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[From the web] UN Member States Denounce Philippines’ ‘Drug War’ Killings -HRW

UN Member States Denounce Philippines’ ‘Drug War’ Killings
Manila Dismisses Criticism During Human Rights Review

(Geneva, May 8, 2017) – Numerous United Nations member countries expressed grave concerns about thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ “war on drugs,” at the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on May 8, 2017. Under the UPR, the human rights situation in each UN member country is reviewed every four years, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Countries from every UN region expressed concern over the deaths in connection with the drug war, with many calling for probes into the killings, and accountability for perpetrators.*

At least 7,000 people, mostly poor urban residents, have been killed in connection with the “drug war” since June 30, the day President Rodrigo Duterte took office. Duterte has repeatedly urged the killing of drug dealers and users, stating for example on August 6, 2016: “My order is to shoot to kill you. I don’t care about human rights, you better believe me.”

“The Philippines is facing a growing chorus of international concern at the human cost of President Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs,’” said John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. “The government’s denial and deflection of criticism shows it has no intention of complying with its international obligations. The Human Rights Council should establish an international inquiry and, if killings without accountability continue, reconsider the Philippines’ council membership.”

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[Press Release] CSOs celebrate HR resolution of UNHRC, urges the PH government to follow through -ATM

CSOs celebrate HR resolution of UNHRC, urges the PH government to follow through
Stopcorporate1 small
Human rights (HR) groups and other organizations are celebrating as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva voted on a resolution to initiate the process to create an international legally binding instrument that will hold transnational corporations (TNCs) accountable to corporate human rights abuses on June 26.

atm-logo

Rene Pamplona and Fr. Joy Pelino both representatives of the Social Action Center of Marbel Diocese a member organization of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) attended the UNHRC meeting in Geneva as representatives of the Philippines.

In a two minute presentation, Pamplona presented to the UNHRC the case of Glencore/Xstrata – a Swiss Transnational Corporation – and its alleged human rights abuses to the people of Bla’an in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Presently, Glencore is being accused of committing human rights abuses to four (4) – Peru, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia – other countries aside from the Philippines.

47 member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council convened to vote on the initiation of the controversial international binding treaty highly opposed by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom and Japan.

The result came down to a YES after 20 voted in favour, 14 against and 13 abstentions.

“This is really a historic moment for all of us,” said Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator.

“The approval of an initiation of an international instrument to hold TNCs accountable to their HR abuses is beneficial to every worker and victims of corporate abuses all around the globe.” He added.

In the Philippines, the lobbying team for the passage of the initiation of the legally binding treaty is the Tampakan Forum to which ATM and SAC Marbel are members.

ATM, Kalikasan at Tao Muna Hindi Mina and other environmental and human rights organizations held a rally in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs office last June 24 in solidarity with the global campaign Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity.

This was after reports came out claiming that the Philippine Mission in Geneva, Headed by Ambassador Cecilia Rebong, kept mum on the issue during the whole process of deliberation. In the final result, the Philippines was one of the countries that voted YES in the meeting.

“It was a long and hard journey to get the missions vote on a YES for the initiation of the binding treaty, however the bigger battle is just about to begin.” Said Rose Trajano, Secretary General of Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA).

Trajano came with Pamplona and Pelino in Geneva and also helped in the lobbying to stop TNC impunity. PAHRA, the organization Trajano belongs is also a member of the Tampakan Forum.

Despite the victory, HR groups and other organizations involve in the global campaign remain wary as to where the initiative may lead to. In a statement, Pamplona urged the supporters of the binding treaty and the general public to be alert and not to get too complacent with the turn of events.

“There are still thousands of victims that are fighting for justice against the human rights abuses TNCs have done to them. Here in the Philippines alone, Glencore Xstrata and the members of Task force KITACO that are main suspects for the killings of Bla’an tribe members remain at large.

“Yes the initiative to build a binding treaty has begun, but we have to be vigilant and alert on what’s going to happen next, because as passionate as we are in concertizing justice when it comes to human rights abuses, those against it are probably as dedicated to block it just the same.” Pamplona said.

According to a press release by the global campaign Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, “United Nations’ present Business and human rights regime, which relies on voluntary guidelines rather than legal obligations, is woefully inadequate to deal with ongoing corporate violations.”

“Voluntary Guidelines” refers to corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that almost all TNCs and even some local companies do to fulfill social obligations.

“There is nothing wrong with CSRs,” Trajano clarified “but this should not be a reason why TNCs should have impunity on abuses they have committed.”

A passage of an international binding treaty championing corporate human rights and holding TNCs accountable to corporate human rights abuses has been seen by Human Rights groups as a revolutionary milestone in the realm of business and human rights.

To date, the global and local campaign for a legally binding instruments continue, this time to ensure that the initiative will follow through and for the Philippines’ “Yes” vote to be translated into a productive and constructive participation in the drafting of the International Binding Treaty.

“We are calling on the Philippine Government especially the Department of Foreign Affairs to actively participate in the drafting of the binding treaty in the UNHRC. May our country be a part of upholding corporate human rights that will benefit this generation and the next.” Garganera concluded.

###

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.

Tampakan Forum, a working group on the Tampakan mining issue composed of legal, social, economic, technical experts and organizations opposing mining in the country

For more information:

Rene Pamplona, Campaign and Advocacy Officer, SAC Marbel (0918) 380.99.23 <renepamplona@yahoo.com.ph>
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>

ATM Press Release
14 July 2014

[Press Release] Social movements celebrate historic vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council

Social movements celebrate historic vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council: UNHRC moves away from voluntary standards and towards a binding treaty to prevent transnational corporations’ human rights violations

demo25jun

Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity

Twenty country members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, representing a population of 3.8 billion people, vote in favour of a historic resolution to build a binding treaty

June 26th, 2014, Geneva – After weeks of negotiation and furious lobbying from Northern countries to avoid the creation of an intergovernmental working group to discuss binding human rights obligations for Transnational Corporations, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted on a resolution to initiate this process. The tense debate surrounding the resolution that was introduced in September 2013 with by 85 countries mostly from the African group, the Arab group and Alba countries, came to an end today with 20 votes in favour, 14 against and 13 abstentions.

When the resolution was presented on Thursday morning, Ecuador, China, South Africa and India passionately called for it to move forward and create a binding treaty that could provide access to justice for the victims of human rights violations by Transnational Corporations. Despite the strong and expressed opposition from the United States, who called for the vote, and from the EU, Japan and the UK, who strongly encouraged other Council members to oppose the resolution, it passed and was welcomed by a spontaneous applause from the floor, an unconventional and rare sign at UN meetings.

After observing the vote from the floor of the Palais de Nations in Geneva Brazilian activist Diana Aguiar said that “arguments based on threats from the EU mission that binding rules would impact investments by TNCs in countries of the South and from the US representative that corporations should be included in any discussion on business and human rights are an expression of the institutional politics that do not differentiate the public good from the defense of private interest.” She added that “the Northern States’ multi-stakeholder approach is a disguise for deep corporate capture of governments that puts investor interest above the rights of people.”

Before the vote, both Ecuador and South Africa emphasized the unprecedented support of hundreds of civil society organizations and social movements for the resolution. In the words of the Ecuadorean Ambassador, “we have to thank the more than 500 civil society organizations that formed a coalition to demand remedies for victims and to support our effort” adding that “without their work none of this would have been possible.” The Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power has been engaged in this process since September 2013 when Ecuador first announced its initiative to push for binding codes.

“One of the main demands of the Global Campaign to Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power has been to build a binding treaty that would provide victims of systematic violations committed by TNCs  with access to justice,” said Brid Brennan of the Transnational Institute. “We welcome the adoption of this resolution and we are committed to ensuring that the process within the UNHRC will lead to a framework for human rights based on social and environmental justice. The vote split between northern and southern countries shows who is willing to defend the interests of transnational capital and who defends the rights of the victims of human rights violations.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Richard Girard: richard@polarisinstitute.org +41 (0) 779127121
Diana Aguiar: dianaguiar@gmail.com 41 (0) 779919441

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[Press Release] Corporate giants go on trial for human rights abuses in Geneva

Corporate giants go on trial for human rights abuses in Geneva
Tribunal hears cases of corporate violations highlighting the need for a global treaty

June 23, 2014, Geneva (Switzerland) – Eight transnational corporations, including Shell, Chevron and Glencore, go on trial today in Geneva for human rights abuses committed around the world.

stopcorporateimpunitydotorg

The cases will be heard in a special session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal organised by the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power & Stop Impunity at the Maison des Associations between 9 am and 6 pm. Monica Vargas from ODG-Debtwatch in Barcelona, a main organizer of tribunal, stated that “The testimony that we will hear today prove that a binding treaty is sorely needed in order to provide victims of corporate crimes access to justice.”

The Tribunal will examine cases that confirm that the United Nations’ present Business and human rights egime, which relies on voluntary guidelines rather than legal obligations, is woefully inadequate to deal with ongoing corporate violations. The voluntary approach has merely continued the systemic denial of access to justice for the victims of corporate abuses.

Victims of the decades-long oil pollution caused by Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon and of
Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria will present their cases that illustrate the long-standing impunity by big oil companies.

The mining industry will also be on trial through the troubling cases of Swiss mining giant Glencore in the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Cases will also be presented involving the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim in El Salvador and of United Kingdom based Lonmin in South Africa.Other cases will discuss how human rights have been
systematically violated by the Coca-Cola Company in Colombia; by Israel’s water services company
Mekorot in Palestine; and by the Spanish Hydro dam company’s operations in Hidralia in
Guatemala.

The Tribunal’s jury, composed of a panel of experts including international lawyers, members of parliament and prominent academics, will hear the testimony of victims’ representatives and present a conclusion about the operations of the accused corporations according to existing international human rights instruments and the fundamental need of access to justice.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal will take place in parallel with the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where Ecuador has led an initiative by over 80 member countries seeking to start the process for developing a binding treaty to punish TNCs for their violations. The proposal is being staunchly resisted by the EU, US, Japan and others that are the host nations for the large majority of transnational corporations.

”It is disturbing that governments in the European Union, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the United States are more concerned with defending the interests of their corporations than the human rights of peoples,” said Brid Brennan from the Transnational Institute and the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power.

Fr. Joy Pelino from the Filipino movement opposing Glencore/Xstrata’s (GX) activities in the Philippines stated that the “company has committed numerous human rights abuses including the killing of Bla’an leaders and some members of their family who oppose mining activities in the area, and has desecrated people’s freedom, dignity and identity.” Pelino asserted that “GX’s monstrosity should be stopped and justice needs to be served now.”

The Geneva Peoples Permanent Tribunal provides an opportunity to the victims of corporate violations to publicly present their struggle and to demand the justice that they have never achieved. More generally, it aims to provide a truthful and authoritative account of the operations of TNCs and their repercussions on human rights. Through these testimonies an international audience will recognise the urgent need for a binding international legal instrument that can enforce human rights obligations for transnational corporations.

The judges for the session include the Law professor and researcher Juan Hernandez Zubizarreta, from Hegoa Institute, Basque Country; Francesco Martone, jurist and Senator in the Italian Parliament; Roberto Schiattarella, professor of Economics and vice-president of the Lelio Basso Foundation; and Jean Ziegler, former Sociology professor, former member of the Swiss Parliament, and former UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food.

About the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power:
Launched in June 2012, the Campaign was established to facilitate a cooperative movement of solidarity between existing local, national and global movements and networks in order to increase the visibility of resistances to transnational corporations (TNCs) violations around the world. For more information and to see a list of participants and signatories please see: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/

About the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal:
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal was established on June 24, 1979 by Lelio Basso, lawyer, Senator, and writer, one of the “fathers” of the Italian Constitution. It is a so-called ‘opinion tribunal’, inspired by the experience of the Russell tribunals on Vietnam (1966-1967) and Latin America dictatorships (1974-1976). It bases its activity on the 1976 Algiers Declaration on the Right of Peoples. The PPT raises public awareness of legal shortcomings affecting the marginalised communities and peoples non-recognised as subjects of rights, in order to provide voiceless victims with a stand of visibility and a possibility of claim, recognition and remedy of their rights.

###

For more information please contact:

Egay Cabalitan, Jr., Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) Advocay Staff, (0928)844.37.17 <egay.advocaytfdp@gmail.com>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>

Press release
23 June 2014

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[Resources] Phil. Government Report on ICCPR

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant
Fourth periodic reports of States parties
Philippines

Introduction

1. This regular report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was prepared in accordance with the consolidated guidelines for State reports under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which replace all earlier versions issued by the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/66/GUI/Rev.2).

2. The Philippines signed the Covenant on 19 December 1966, ratified the same on 28 February 1986 and submitted the Instrument of Ratification on 23 October 1986. The treaty entered into force on 23 January 1987, three months after the date of deposit of the
Instrument of Ratification. The Philippines submitted its Initial Report to the Committee on 22 March 1988 (CCPR/C/50/Add.1/Rev.1), which was considered by the Committee on 31 March and 03 April 1989.The combined 2nd and 3rd report was submitted to the Committee on 26 August 2002.

3. This report consists of two parts with covering period from 2003 until June 2009. The first part provides information on the current situation in the Philippines. The second part provides specific information relating to the implementation of the provisions of the Covenant.

4. This report provides the background information on laws, policies, programmes and recent developments pertinent to the rights enumerated in the Covenant, the difficulties and problems arising from their implementation, and the prospects for the future.

5. The report was prepared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the lead agency in the preparation of the ICCPR report, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as vice-chair of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) pursuant to Administrative Order (A.O.) 163, s, 2006 (Strengthening of the Presidential Human Rights Committee).

Read full report @ www.ccprcentre.org

See other reports @ http://www.ccprcentre.org/country/philippines/

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[Press Release] Germany and Norway oppose amendment of the Juvenile Justice Law -CLRD

Germany and Norway oppose amendment of the Juvenile Justice Law

“The Philippine government must ensure not to lower the age of criminal responsibility” referring to the children in conflict with the law. This was one of the statements of Germany during the Inter-active dialogue at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on 29 May 2012. Norway on the other hand recommends that the Juvenile Justice Law must be implemented effectively.

While the whole nation was glued last week at the Impeachment Trial of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the House of Representatives successfully gained ground in expediting the passage into the second readingof the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Law with regard to the age of criminal responsibility lowering it to twelve.

The current Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 also known as Republic Act 9344 is a law that promotes the rights of children in conflict with the law (CICL), as well as of children at risk. In the said law, the age of criminal responsibility is generally at fifteen above and the law provides for diversion programs for the rehabilitation and reintegration of CICL.

According to Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRD), an NGO that monitors, document and provides direct legal assistance to cases of CICL, it has interviewed and documented cases of CICL who experienced torture in the hands of law enforcers while they were being arrested. With the proposed amendment, CLRD remarked that children above 12 are more prone to abuses, which the implementers of the law failed to address by the current rate and incidents of CICL who suffer and endure torture, which youth homes call “learning experience”. Homosexual CICL aremore extremely discriminated especially in the context of involuntary servitude.Also, in its regular conduct of visits to detention centers of children, also known as “youth homes”, CLRD claimed that the structure of youth homes is typical detention cells – – crowded, dark, unventilated, stinky.

CLRD also added that in the course of its provision of orientation on children’s rights and the law to local government units, it learned that most local barangays that were given orientations were not keen to the nitty-gritty of the Juvenile Justice law.They want to know the law.

Rowena Legaspi, Executive Director of CLRD said: “The inhumane conditions of the CICL cannot be denied from the eyes of the international communities. Hence, during the UPR, most recommendations by foreign countries to the Philippine government were addressed to ensuring that any forms of torture and corporal punishment should be looked into.”

With the recommendations of Germany and Norway, explicitly ensuring effective implementation of the juvenile justice law, CLRD also challenge the honourable” members of Congress to immerse themselves with CICL, conduct surprise visit to children detention centers, go to the communities, and if they care enough, interview children victims of torture, before they can validly push for the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility.

“CICL are victims of unequal economic distribution – – deprived of a family life, education, and right to food, most of them are trafficking survivors. They are not criminals, they must be seen as victims, and most of all children”, CLRD said.

CLRD supports the recommendations of Germany and Norway and pronounced that “Juvenile Justice Law must be effectively implemented as amendment is not the solution for the State implementers’ failure to fulfil and discharge its human rights obligations to the children.” It further stressed that “lowering the age of criminal responsibility constitute a grave breach to the convention on the rights of the child which the Philippines has ratified and acceded to.”

Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Inc.
401-B, CRM Building, No. 106 Kamias Road, Quezon City
Tel. No. 4333199

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[Announcement] Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia) and the UPR

Dear Everyone,

Good day! I wish to share with you recent website articles concerning the UPR of the Philippines.

“Philippines Human Rights record reviewed by the Human Rights Council”
http://www.childrightscoalitionasia.org/philippines-human-rights-record-reviewed-by-human-rights-council

“HR Council adopted UPR working group report on Philippines; Government accepted 53 recommendations”
http://www.childrightscoalitionasia.org/hr-council-adopted-upr-working-group-report-on-philippines-government-accepted-53-recommendations

Please feel free to share this with other colleagues and networks in the Philippines.

Please take note of the recommendations that are subject to further review. The government is due to give its feedback to HRC in September 2012. It is vital that these recommendations be accepted. Once accepted, these recommendations will be considered in the next cycle of the UPR where the Philippines is obligated to give an update on the measures undertaken.

Best regards,

Ryan V. Silverio
Convenor
Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia)
Unit 1501 Future Point Plaza 1,
112 Panay Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: +632-376-63-88
Mobile: +63917-879-77-10
Website: http://www.childrightscoalitionasia.org

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[In the news] PWDs invisible even to human rights advocates -Yahoo News

PWDs invisible even to human rights advocates
By VERA Files | The Inbox
April 5, 2012

By CARLO FIGUEROA, VERA Files

CAN one marginalized group be more marginalized than the others?

Yes, say persons with disabilities (PWDs) who live with this assumption every day. Indeed, a report by the Coalition on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PhilCoalitionCRPD) says that among vulnerable groups—women, youth, gays and lesbians, and indigenous peoples—PWDs get the least attention from government and sadly, even from human rights campaigners.

“Throughout the years, persons with disabilities have remained largely invisible because of discrimination,” said PhilCoalitionCRPD in its report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The document is part of the joint civil society report submitted for the UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted every four years to look at the human rights situations of the U.N. member countries. The Philippines will undergo its review in May.

“Unfortunately, there was no discussion on persons with disabilities in the Philippines’ state report for the UPR in 2008,” Dr. Liza Martinez, director of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center and a member of the PhilCoalition CPRD said in a recent briefing held in Makati City in preparation for the UPR.

Read full article @ ph.news.yahoo.com

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[In the news] UN rights body seeks compensation for jailed Pinoy journalist -ABS-CBNnews.com

UN rights body seeks compensation for jailed Pinoy journalist
ABS-CBNnews.com
February 3, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) wants the Philippine government to compensate a Davao City-based journalist who has been imprisoned for criminal defamation.

The UNHRC believes that the imprisonment of Alexander Adonis violated his right to free expression, according to an international media rights group.

The case stemmed from a 2001 radio broadcast in which Adonis reported on an alleged affair between then House Speaker Prospero Nograles and a married woman, the International Press Institute (IPI) said on Friday.

The UNHRC said the nearly 5-year prison sentence imposed on Adonis was “incompatible” with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The committee reported that Nograles filed a libel complaint against Adonis in response to the story.

The IPI said in 2007, a Davao City court sentenced Adonis to a prison term of 5 months to 4-and-a-half years.

The court also ordered him to pay P100,000 to the congressman for “moral damages” and imposed an additional P100,000 fine to “serve as an example for notorious display of irresponsible reporting,” the IPI added.

In his filing with the UNHRC, Adonis asserted that the libel provisions (Sections 353 and 354) of the Philippines Revised Criminal Code unreasonably infringed upon the right to free speech.

“The current law explicitly presumes malice in all defamatory statements and in nearly all cases rejects defences of truth or public interest,” the IPI said.

Read full article @ www.abs-cbnnews.com

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