Tag Archives: United Nations Human Rights Council

[International] Laos: Pledge Action on Rights, Stop ‘Disappearances’ -HRW

Laos: Pledge Action on Rights, Stop ‘Disappearances’
UN Review Opportunity for Progress, Answers on Sombath Somphone

(Geneva, January 19, 2015) – The government of Laos should use the United Nations Human Rights Council review of its record to pledge concrete measures to address its pervasive human rights problems, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Laos will appear for the country’s second Universal Periodic Review on January 20, 2015, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a June 2014 submission to the council, Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the enforced disappearance of civil society leader Sombath Somphone, severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms to expression and assembly, the denial of labor rights, and abusive drug detention centers.

“The lack of progress in the disappearance of a leading activist is sadly emblematic of the Lao government’s failure take action on a wide range of serious human rights problems,” said Philippe Dam, acting Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “UN member countries should make clear their dissatisfaction with Laos’ inaction and insist upon genuine reform.”

Lao authorities’ have not made progress in the enforced disappearance of prominent civil society leader and Magsaysay award winner Sombath Somphone in Vientiane in December 2012. Although closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage captured him being apprehended at a police checkpoint, Lao authorities have recently claimed someone other than Sombath was shown being driven away. They continue to refuse offers of technical assistance from governments to assess the video footage or provide other investigative support. Civil society activists told Human Rights Watch that the Sombath case has had a severe chilling effect on activism in Laos, which has made them fear raising the case with the authorities.

Laos also has not taken significant steps to meet commitments the government made during its first Universal Periodic Review in 2010, Human Rights Watch said. The government has failed to end severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and the media, association, and peaceful assembly. A decree on the Internet adopted in September 2014 sharply limits the types of information that can be shared—including “false information” about the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, or any information the government finds “distorts truth or tarnishes the dignity and rights of individuals, sectors, institutions and organizations.” The government has long controlled all newspapers, television, and radio in the country, and bars media reporting if it considers it contrary to undefined “national interests” or “traditional culture and dignity.” People taking part in unauthorized public protests have been sentenced to long prison terms.

Workers are prohibited from establishing or joining a trade union of their own choosing since all unions must be part of the government-controlled Lao Federation of Trade Unions. They are also unable to exercise their right to strike because of restrictions in labor law and authorities’ proven willingness to forcibly break up workers’ protests.

The Lao government maintains a system of drug detention centers where detainees are held for months and sometimes years without a court ruling, judicial oversight, or an appeal mechanism. Human Rights Watch found that detainees at the Somsanga center outside Vientiane received little effective medical treatment, and were instead locked in cells inside barbed wire compounds, and subjected to beatings.

“The Lao government has a long record of using enforced disappearances, oppressive laws, and long prison terms to silence its critics,” Dam said. “Governments should use the opportunity of UN review of Laos to make clear they stand with ordinary citizens against the abuses by unaccountable Lao officials.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Laos, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/laos

For more information, please contact:
In Geneva, Philippe Dam (English): +41 76 413 35 36 (mobile); or damp@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @Philippe_Dam
In Bangkok, Phil Robertson (English, Thai): +66-85-060-8406 (mobile); or robertp@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @Reaproy
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @BradAdamsHRW
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @johnsifton

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.

[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.

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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.

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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

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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

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.

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.

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

26 June 2014

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

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.

Photo by ATM

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, anunconventional 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.”\

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

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.

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.

 

[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.

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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.

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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

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.

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.

[Statement] Joint Statement: Call for an international legally binding instrument on human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Joint Statement: Call for an international legally binding instrument on human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises

This statement has been endorsed by a wide alliance of international networks, organizations and social movements, listed below.[1] It represents the collective expression of a growing mobilization of global civil society calling for further enhancement of international legal standards to address corporate infringements of human rights. It welcomes the recent initiatives by States in the United Nations Human Rights Council, presented by Ecuador in the session of September 2013, to develop an international treaty on legally binding rules for TNCs on human rights issues.

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We, the undersigned organisations,

Concerned about the continuing abuses and violations of human rights occurring all over the world which directly or indirectly engage the responsibility of business enterprises;

Concerned also that such abusive conduct often disproportionately impacts women, who comprise the majority of workers in the most vulnerable sectors, peasants, indigenous peoples, persons living in poverty, children among others, and especially concerned by the fact that justice is denied to those who suffer harm,

Considering the invaluable work done by human rights defenders and organisations, trade unions, indigenous rights and women rights defenders and others defending and protecting human rights in the face of corporate- related abuses,

Concerned at the incidence of attacks, harassment, restrictions, intimidation and reprisals against these human rights defenders,

Considering the initiatives taken by some States within and outside the United Nations human rights bodies as well as the action and work undertaken by human rights experts and bodies of the United Nations to provide better protection of human rights in the context of business operations,

Recalling existing States’ obligations under global and regional human rights treaties and the need to implement and complement those treaties to make them effective in the context of business transnational operations,

Convinced of the need to enhance the international legal framework, including international remedies, applicable to State action to protect rights in the context of business operations, and mindful of the urgent need to ensure access to justice and remedy and reparations for victims of corporate human rights abuse,

1. Call upon the States to elaborate an international treaty that:

Affirms the applicability of human rights obligations to the operations of transnational corporations and other business enterprises;
Requires States Parties to monitor and regulate the operations of business enterprises under their jurisdiction, including when acting outside their national territory, with a view to prevent the occurrence of abuses of human rights in the course of those operations;
Requires States Parties to provide for legal liability for business enterprises for acts or omissions that infringe human rights;
Requires States Parties to provide for access to an effective remedy by any State concerned, including access to justice for foreign victims that suffered harm from acts or omissions of a business enterprise in situations where there are bases for the States involved to exercise their territorial or extraterritorial protect- obligations;
Provides for an international monitoring and accountability mechanism;
Provides for protection of victims, whistle-blowers and human rights defenders that seek to prevent, expose or ensure accountability in cases of corporate abuse and guarantees their right to access to information relevant in this context.

2.            Call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to take step towards the elaboration of this treaty, and to that end establish an open ended inter-governmental working group tasked with a drafting mandate.

3.            Call on civil society organisations to take measures towards the establishment of a joint initiative to achieve the objective of a legally binding instrument within the United Nations without delay.

[1] This statement was originally drafted by participants in the first annual Peoples’ Forum on Human Rights and Business. The Forum was convened jointly by ESCR-Net and Forum-Asia from 5 to 7 November in Bangkok, Thailand.

List of Signatories

Accountability Counsel, USA
Action Contre l’Impunite pour les Droits Humains (ACIDH)
Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie , ADEV
ADC Memorial, Russia
ADHOC (Cambodia)
Afghanistan Watch
Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network – AEFJN
Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger Sierra Leone
African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Nigeria
African Resources Watch (AFREWATCH)
AGORA Espacio Civil, Paraguay
Al-Haq
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Alt-SEAN Burma)
Alyansya Tigil Mina – Alliance Against Mining (Philippines)
Amigos da Terra Brasil / Friends of the Earth Brazil
Anti-POSCO People’s Movement, India
APRODEH, Peru
Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA (Afghanistan)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Associação Mama Mater/IBFAN, Portugal
Association For Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
Association of Religious Liberty & Languages of Sri Lanka
Avocats Sans Frontieres
Birendra Adhikari Rural Reconstruction Nepal
Brot fuer die Welt
Burma Partnership
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
CAJAR (Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo), Colombia
Canada Tibet Committee
CAOI
Casa y Ciudad
CATAPA
CÁTEDRA SEMINARIO DE POLÍTICA AMBIENTAL LATINOAMERICANA. FACULTAD DE CIENCIA POLÍTICA. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE ROSARIO
CCS, Panama
CEDAL- Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo
CEDH (Centre Oecuménique des Droits Humain), Haïti
CEDHU (La Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos)
CENIDH, Nicaragua
Center for Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS) Faculty of Law, Universitas Airlangga
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Center of Concern, USA
Central America Women’s Network
Centre d’Appui à la Gestion Durable des Forêts Tropicales (CAGDFT)
Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), South Africa
Centre for human rights and development/Urantsooj Gombosuren
Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM)
Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos (México)
Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio de Montesinos (CAM)
Centro de Investigación y Promoción Social (CIPROSOC)
Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos – Perú EQUIDAD
Centro de Promoción y Desarrollo Rural Amazónico – CEPODRA
Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral de Fomento Cultural y Educativo (CEREAL)
CERAI (CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS RURALES Y DE AGRICULTURA INTERNACIONAL)
CIDSE
Citizens’ alliance for equitable and efficient development (creed) pakistan
Citizens for Justice-(CFJ), Malawi
Citizens Watch Russia
Clean Clothes Campaign
Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua (COMDA)
Col·lectiu RETS
Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH)
Comision Nacional de Enlace (CNE)
COMITE NACIONAL DE LOS 63 PUEBLOS INDIGENAS,A.C.
Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CPDH), Colombie
Commission for the Disapeared and Victim of Violence (KontraS)
Commission Justice et Paix Belgique francophone
Committee for the Defence of Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR)
Community Resource Centre (CRC), Thailand
Conectas Direitos Humanos
CONF.NAL.DE.UNIDAD.SIND.INDE. (C.O.N.U.S.I.)
Conseil Régionales des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement en sigle CRONGD KASAI ORIENTAL
Consultoría Especializada en Justiciabilidad de los DESC (CEJUDESC)
CorA Network for Corporate Accountability
Defenders of Human Rights Centre – DHRC (Iran)
Defensoría del Derecho a la Salud
Dejusticia
Democracy Center
DESCA Equipo Pueblo, México
Development and Civilisations Lebret-IRFED (DCLI)
Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh,India
Dignity International
DKA Austria – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar, Austria
Due Process of Law Foundation
EARTHSAVERS MOVEMENT
Ecologistas en Acción
EcoNexus
Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (Espacio DESC)
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights,
entraide et fraternité
EOHR – Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights
Equitable Cambodia
Espacio de Coordinación de Organizaciones Civiles sobre Derechos
EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network
European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
European Network of Archbishop Oscar Romero Committees
Europe-Third World Centre (CETIM)
FEMNET – Feministische Perspektiven auf Politik, Wirtschaft & Gesellschaft
FIAN Austria
FIAN Belgium
FIAN International
FIAN Nepal
FIAN Sección México
FIAN Sweden
FIAN Switzerland for the Right to Adequate Food
Fiery Hearts Club, Uzbekistan/France
Finnish League for Human Rights
FOCO Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos
Focus on the Global South
FOE MAURITIUS
Food & Water Watch
Food Systems Integrity/Molly D. Anderson, P
Forum Menschenrechte, Germany
FOUNDATION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE EARTH (FOCONE)
Franciscans International
Freedom from Debt Coalition-FDC, Philippines
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth US
Fundación Comunidad Esperanza y Justicia Internacional (FUNCEJI)
Gemeinschaft für Menschenrechte im Freistaat Sachsen (GMS)
Gidest – Mundo Construyendo Hábitat
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Global Policy Forum
Global Rights: Partners for Justice, USA
Gong Gam Human Rights Law Foundation, South Korea
GOUD:EERLIJK?
Green Advocates International
Groupe de Recheche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives ( GRPIE )
Gulf Civil Society Association Forum, Bahrein
Habi Center for Environmental Rights
Hadiza Mahaman/Centre Nigerien des Droits de l’Homme pour la Paix et le Developpement
HORIZONT3000 / Diego Santos-Santiago
Housing International Coalition (HIC)
HRD-Pilipinas (Philippines)
Human Dignity
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan – HRCP (Pakistan)
Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand
Human Rights Movement ‘Bir Duino – Kirgizstan’
Human Rights Online Philippines (Philippines)
IBFAN-GIFA
ILSA – Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos
Inclusive Development International
Indian Social Action Forum – INSAF
Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), UK
Initiative bessere Zukunft/Bernhard Völk
INKOTA-netzwerk e.V.
INSTITUT PEREMPUAN
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (INFOE)
Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuria (IDHIE)
Instituto Mexicano de Derechos Humanos y Democracia (IMDHD)
Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC)
Interfaith Cooperation Forum
Internacional para el Hábitat (HIC AL)
International baby Food Action network
International Campaign for Tibet – ICT (Tibet)
International Children’s Center
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Indian Treaty Council – CITI
International Service for Human Rights
Jamaa Resource Initiatives
JASS (Just Associates) / JASS (Asociadas por lo Justo) – Mesoamerica
Justiça Global
JUSTICIA Asbl
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) – Campaign for Life of Dignity for All-Philippines (Philippines)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
Kenyan Human Rights Commission
Kerio Valley Community Organization (KVCO)
KILOS KA (Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan), The Philippines
Kirchlcihe Arbeitsstelle Südliches Afrika
Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air (KRuHA) / people’s coalition for the right to water
KontraS (Indonesia)
Korean House of International Solidarity (KHIS)
La Comisión Nacional de los Derchos Humanos
La Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer de Cochabamba, Bolivia
LAHRA (Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, The Philippines
Lao Movement for Human Rights – MLDH (Laos)
Lawyers without Borders
League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran -LDDHI (Iran)
Legal Aid Society, Uzbekistan
Legal Resources Centre
Legrand Anthony
Liga lidských práv / League of Human Rights, Czech Republic
Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (LIMEDDH)
Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme (LADDH)
Loyola Human Rights Advocacy Project
LuaLua Center for Human Rights (LCHR), Bahrein
Lumiere Synergie pour le Developpement
Manitese
Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM), The Philippines
Mindanao Tripeople Women Resource Center (MTWRC), The Philippines
mines, minerals & PEOPLE
MiningWatch, Canada
National Centre For Advocacy Studies, India
Network for Justice and Development, Sierra Leone
Network Social Responsibility
NGO Citizens’ Watch
Nicaragua -United States Friendship Office
Norwegian People’s Aid
O Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, Brazil
Observatorio Ciudadano, Chile
Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con Dignidad
Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social en el Ecuador OSLADE – Dick Sellán Bajaña – Director Ejecutivo
Odhikar (Bangladesh)
Oficina Regional para América Latina y el Caribe de la Coalición
OIDHACO – Oficina Internacional de Derechos Humanos – Acción Colombia – red de 35 Ongs europeas
PDHRE, People’s Movment for Human Rights Learning
People’s Health Movement
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PHILRIGHTS)
Philippine Misereor Partneship Inc.
philippinenbuero e.V.
PINK Armenia
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)
POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (Anti-POSCO peoples movement), India
Positive Peace Group
Pradžių pradžia (Promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding), Lithuania
Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER), Mexico
PUMC-UNAM; Mexico
Radar-Colectivo de Estudios Críticos en Derecho
RAID, UK
REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay
Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), Haití
Rural Reconstruction Nepal
Russian Research Center for Human Rights
Sakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
Salam Bahrain for Human Rights
SAVEGREEKWATER Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece
Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de América Latina – SICSAL / Armando Márquez Ochoa
Share The World’s Resources
Social Justice Connection
Social Justice Ireland
Social Research and Development Center
Society for Environmental Actions, Re-Construction & Humanitarian response (SEARCH)
SOMO
Sose Women’s Issues
Stop the Wall Campaign (Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign)
SUMPAY Mindanao, Inc., The Philippines
Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines – TFDP (Philippines)
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
The Institute for Ecosoc Rights
The Jus Semper Global Alliance
The Network Stop Rönnbäck Nickel Mining Project in Ume river, Tärnaby, Sweden
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Traidcraft, UK
Transnational Institute
Universal Rights Network
Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights – VCHR (Vietnam)
VIVAT International (Geneva)
Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau, Austria
WIDE – Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development (Austria)
WomanHealth Philippines
Women’s Environment and Development Organization
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Netherlands
World Forum Of Fisher People (WFFP)
World March of Women
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
WUNRN – Women’s UN Report Network
YAC Nepal

###

For more information please visit http://www.treatymovement.com/

[Press Release] Rights groups hold nationwide candle lighting for Yolanda Victims on International Human Rights Day -TFDP

Rights groups hold nationwide candle lighting for Yolanda Victims on International Human Rights Day
Call on government to prioritize the rights of victims and stop politicking

TFDP Visayas and other HRDs LightUP4 Yolanda Victims LightUP4 Rights on December 10 Human Rights Day in Cebu

TFDP Visayas and other HRDs LightUP4 Yolanda Victims LightUP4 Rights on December 10 Human Rights Day in Cebu

In commemoration of the International Human Rights Day of 2013, human rights groups held nationwide solidarity candle lighting in several parts of the country, for victims of typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters and victims of human rights violations.

“We devote today’s comemoration of International Human Rights Day for all those who suffered and continue to suffer the result of climate change and environmental destruction caused by greed, development aggression and government neglect,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

While the group extends their heartfelt solidarity to all victims, they are also calling on government leaders to prioritize the needs of the victims and refrain from politicking.

“We Light UP for Yolanda Victims, we Light Up for Human Rights, dahil higit sa lahat ay dapat unahin ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng mga taong nasalanta kaysa pagpapabida. Dapat matauhan na ang mga kurap na pulitiko at tigilan na ang pamumulsa ng pondo ng bayan at ilaan sa dapat nitong puntahan. Dahil dapat Tao muna! Hindi tubo at kita, dahil dapat tao muna hindi pamumulitika at pabida,” Amistad added.

“Although our fellow Filipinos in disaster stricken areas, especially in Leyte needs all the help, relief and support we can provide, it will not be enough to solve the problems. Other future disasters will come and if the government will not be serious and sincere in performing its duty to protect its people instead of profit and corruption, all these will just be repeated,” Amistad said.

In Visayas, members of TFDP and its allies from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) held their “Light UP 4 Yolanda Victims, Light UP 4 Rights,” at the University of the Philippines Cebu. “We light candles in solidarity for all victims of climate disaster, mining and other profit driven development projects that does not benefit the people, instead harm them and lead to violations of their human rights.”

In Mindanao, human rights defenders, TFDP, PMCJ and Freedom from Debt Coalition together with other social and climate activists led the candle lighting activities in Centennial Park, San Pedro Street, Davao City. Candle lighting activities at Bukidnon, Surigao Del Sur and Iligan were also held simultaneously.

LightUP4 Yolanda, LightUP4 Rights, in Davao. Photo by TFDP Mindanao

LightUP4 Yolanda, LightUP4 Rights, in Davao. Photo by TFDP Mindanao

According to the group they are also dedicating the solidarity candle lighting for victims of Zamboanga siege, Bohol and Cebu Earthquake, and other natural and manmade disasters that devastated our peoples and communities. Saying, “We hope we can help inspire them to stand up and we are with them in struggling to regain what has been damaged and lost from them.”

Youth and students in several universities also gave their solidarity LightUP activity. Students from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde participated in the Quezon City Memorial Circle LightUP activity. Members of Youth for Rights (Y4R) and Teatro Kahimanawari of Marikina Polytechnic University held their candle lighting in front of Marikina City Hall Freedom Park. Others participated in the online solidarity in the social networking site Facebook.

In Quezon City, more than 300 members of the Philipppine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Amnesty International – Philippines and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), held the LightUP for Yolanda Victims, LightUP4 Rights activity at the fountain area in Quezon City Memorial Circle.

The group lamented that “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, Tao ang kawawa.” The group also reminded PNoy of his obligation to issue a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) in compliance with the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council. ###

For more details pls contact:
Egay Cabalitan
TFDP Advocacy Staff
Mobile: 09288443717; Office: 9950246
Email: egay.advocacytfdp@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE
December 10, 2013

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[Appeal] Open Letter to candidates to the (U.N.) Human Rights Council

UNHRC file photo source indiadaily.org

 

Open Letter to candidates to the Human Rights Council

 

 

 

Excellency,

 

 

 

We are a diverse group of nongovernmental organisations from all parts of the world who have
contributed to the Human Rights Council (the Council) and its work since its establishment. We
write to you regarding your candidacy for membership of the Council.

 

 

 

 

UNHRC file photo source indiadaily.org

UNHRC. file photo source indiadaily.org

 

 

 

In establishing the Council in 2006, the General Assembly provided that Council members “shall
uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” and “fully
cooperate with the Council” (GA Resolution 60/251).

 

 

 

We are concerned about the clear failure of some candidates to fully comply with these criteria.
Failure by Council members to take effective measures to address violations of human rights for
which they are responsible, particularly of a gross or systematic nature, or to fully cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms undermines the ability of the Council to promote and protect
human rights and to demand full state cooperation with its mechanisms. While this letter focuses
on three important requirements that help measure candidate’s suitability as a Human Rights
Council member, a more detailed assessment of each candidate’s record in the promotion and
protection of human rights and cooperation with the Human Rights Council must be made on a
case-by-case basis by members of the General Assembly before they cast their votes. This
should also include consideration of the level of ratification of core international human rights
treaties.

 

 

 

We are also concerned at the failure of some candidates to respect and support the important
role played by civil society, non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders in the
promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels, including in the Council (Article 38 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, GA Resolution 60/251
and the Human Rights Council’s Institution Building Package).

 

 

 

We expand on each of these areas of concern below.

 

 

 

Cooperation with Special Procedures

 

 

 

As a candidate, it is incumbent on every State to set an example by cooperating fully with the
Council’s human rights mechanisms, in particular by:

 

 

 

1. Issuing and honouring an effective standing invitation to the Special Procedures. This
requires responding promptly to all requests for visits by providing one or more sets of
specific possible dates within two months, and facilitating such visits in accordance with the
Terms of Reference on Fact-finding Missions by Special Procedures.

 

 

 

2. Acting responsibly and respectfully in relations with Special Procedures and refraining from all attempts, by word or action, to interfere with the independence of mandate holders or to
otherwise undermine their work;

 

 

 

3. Regularly providing information to the Special Procedures and to the Human Rights Council
on how the recommendations arising from country visits have been implemented, and any
obstacles to implementation;

 

 

 

4. Responding promptly and substantively to urgent appeals and to letters of allegations by
Special Procedures, taking into account the urgency of the communication; and

 

 

 

5. Supporting the creation of a mechanism to review and assess, on an annual basis, the
degree of cooperation with the Council and the Special Procedures, both in relation to Council
members and candidates for Council membership.

 

 

 

Reprisals and intimidation

 

 

 

We are also gravely concerned about acts of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and
groups who seek to cooperate, have cooperated, or cooperate with the UN human rights system,
including the Council, as well as against relatives of victims of human rights violations or those who have provided legal or other assistance to victims. Such intimidation or reprisals may take the form of smear campaigns, harassment, intimidation, prosecutions, direct threats, physical attacks and killings.

 

 

 

As the Council depends heavily on the free and safe cooperation of human rights defenders for
its effective functioning, it has a concomitant duty to prevent and immediately respond to threats and reprisals against those who cooperate with it. The Council took a significant step at its 24th session to safeguard the vital collaboration between human rights defenders and the UN rights mechanisms through the call for the creation of a senior focal point to work to prevent, protect against and seek accountability for reprisals and intimidation against persons who cooperate with the United Nations (HRC/RES/24/24). While we welcome this development, ending reprisals and intimidation requires continued action and responses by all stakeholders. In particular, each candidate should:

 

 

 

1. Cooperate fully with the focal point once established;
2. Take positive steps to facilitate safe and unimpeded access to the UN human rights
mechanisms by all individuals and groups, and in particular human rights defenders;
3. Take all necessary measures to prevent intimidation and reprisals against human rights
defenders and take appropriate action to provide remedies for all acts of intimidation and
reprisals;
4. Inform the Council through its President and on an ongoing basis of steps taken to protect
individuals mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report on reprisals and to provide remedies,
reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence;
5. Support recent initiatives by the President of the Council calling on States to immediately put
an end to intimidation and harassment of individuals and groups cooperating or seeking to
cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms;
6. Commit to and call for enhanced monitoring and action by the Council. Consider the
development of an online and regularly updated registry of allegations of intimidation and
reprisals, as proposed by several of the panellists during the Council’s panel on reprisals;
7. Maintain pressure on States that commit or tolerate reprisals, including by using bilateral and multilateral dialogue to raise cases of intimidation or reprisals as documented in the
Secretary-General’s report and discussing follow-up;
8. Prioritise protection for all human rights defenders including those who cooperate with the
UN, through missions in Geneva and embassies around the world. This should be done in close coordination with all stakeholders involved in protecting human rights defenders,
including the UN, regional and national actors;
9. Consider establishing focal points at the national level to address acts of intimidation and
reprisals;
10. Review and where necessary change legislation, policies and practices that have the effect of
undermining unhindered access to and communication with international human rights bodies
and mechanisms and avoid adopting any such new legislation; and
11. Prevent the occurrence of intimidation or reprisals, including, where necessary, by developing and implementing specific legislation and policies and by issuing appropriate guidance to national authorities.

 

 

 

Respect for effective civil society participation

 

 

 

Human rights defenders and independent civil society play a critical role in promoting human
rights, development and the rule of law (HRC/RES/24/21) and related accountability measures.
Free and vibrant civil society participation at all levels is therefore essential, including at the local, national, regional and international levels. This implies that each candidate should:

 

 

 

1. Ensure that domestic legal and administrative provisions and their application facilitate,
promote and protect an independent, diverse and pluralistic civil society; and
2. Support the full and effective participation of civil society in the work of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council in particular, including by guaranteeing right of everyone,
individually and in association with others, to unhindered access to and communication with
the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms.
Your Excellency, we urge you to consider the above mentioned elements in the pursuit of your
country’s candidacy for membership on the Human Rights Council and would very much welcome
your response to these recommendations at your earliest convenience.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,
Philip Lynch
Director – International Service for Human Rights

 

 

 

On behalf of
1. Action Canada for Population and Development
2. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
3. Amnesty International
4. ARC International
5. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
6. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
7. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
8. Center for Reproductive Rights
9. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
10. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
11. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
12. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
13. Fondazione Marista per la Solidarieta Internazionale ONLUS
14. Franciscans International
15. Front Line Defenders
16. GAYa NUSANTARA
17. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
18. Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
19. Human Rights Watch
20. International Association for Catholic Education
21. International Catholic Child Bureau
22. International Commission of Jurists
23. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
24. International Federation of University Women (IFUW)
25. International Lesbian and Gay Association
26. International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
27. International Service for Human Rights
28. KIFKIF LGBT GROUP
29. Lutheran World Federation
30. Matrix Support Group
31. Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders
32. Pax Christi International
33. Public Information and Need of Knowledge NGO
34. Public Union of Democracy and Human Rights Resource Centre
35. Rainbow-Ethiopia HIV and Media Initiative (REHMI)
36. Red Nacional de Promoción de la Mujer, RNPM-Perú
37. Russian Research Center for Human Rights
38. Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
39. World Federation of United Nations Associations
40. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

 

 

 

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.

 

[Press Release] Thirteen Principles Against Unchecked Surveillance Launched at United Nations -EFF

Thirteen Principles Against Unchecked Surveillance Launched at United Nations
Privacy Advocates Call Upon UN Member States to End Mass Internet Spying Worldwide

eff-logo-opengraph-noalpha-square

Geneva – At the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, six major privacy NGOs, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), warned nations of the urgent need comply with international human rights law to protect their citizens from the dangers posed by mass digital surveillance.

The groups launched the “International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance” at a side event on privacy hosted by the governments of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The text is available in 30 languages at http://necessaryandproportionate.org.

“Governments around the world are waking up to the risks unrestrained digital surveillance pose to free societies,” EFF International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez said during the official presentation of the principles.

“Privacy is a human right and needs to be protected as fiercely as all other rights. States need to restore the application of human rights to communications surveillance.”

The document was the product of a year-long negotiation process between Privacy International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the Association for Progressive Communications. The document spells out how existing human
rights law applies to modern digital surveillance and gives lawmakers and observers a benchmark for measuring states’ surveillance practices against long-established human rights standards. The principles have now been endorsed by over 260 organizations from 77 countries, from Somalia to
Sweden.

Included in the 13 principles are tenets such as:

Necessity: State surveillance must be limited to that which is necessary to achieve a legitimate aim.

Proportionality: Communications surveillance should be regarded as a highly intrusive act and weighed against the harm that would be caused to the individual’s rights.

Transparency: States must be transparent about the use and scope of communications surveillance.

Public Oversight: States need independent oversight mechanisms.

Integrity of Communications and Systems: Because compromising security for state purposes always compromises security more generally, states must not compel ISPs or hardware and software vendors to include backdoors or other spying capabilities.

EFF and its co-signers will use the principles to advocate at national, regional and international levels for a change in how present surveillance laws are interpreted and new
laws are crafted, including urging the United States government to re-engineer its domestic surveillance program to comply with international human rights law.

The event, “How to Safeguard the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age,” featured speakers including Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights–who highlighted the recent scandals over British and US surveillance programs in her introductory remarks to the
Human Rights Council this week–and Frank La Rue, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Earlier this year, LaRue released a report that details the widespread use of state surveillance of communications in several countries, stating that such surveillance severely undermines a citizenry’s ability to
enjoy private lives, freely express themselves and exercise their other fundamental human rights.

“Member states of the Human Rights Council should assess their surveillance laws and bring them into compliance with the 13 benchmarks,” Rodriguez says. “We must put an end to unchecked, suspicionless, mass spying online.”

For this release:
https://www.eff.org/press/releases/thirteen-principles-against-unchecked-surveillance-launched-united-nations

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading organization protecting civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization.

Find out more at https://www.eff.org.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 20, 2013
Contact:

Katitza Rodriguez
International Rights Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
katitza@eff.org

[Press Release] Families and Advocates Against Enforced Disappearance urge Asian governments to bring the Desaparecidos home -AFAD

Families and Advocates Against Enforced Disappearance urge Asian governments to bring the Desaparecidos home

AFAD

On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) vows to make full use of Republic Act 10353, the Anti Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012 to bring home all Filipino desaparecidos and to exact accountability from its violators.

Republic Act 10353 or the “Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012, which was enacted into law on 21 December 2012 and whose Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was promulgated on 12 February 2013, clearly define and penalize the act of enforced disappearance as a distinct and separate criminal offense.

The families of victims enforced disappearance in the Philippines have pledged to utilize the new law as a measure to combat impunity and guarantee substantial remedies to victims and their families.

While AFAD members laud the Philippine government for the passage of RA 10353 as an acknowledgement that the country needs to seriously address the problem of enforced disappearance, they are however disturbed that enforced disappearances persist under the present dispensation even as past cases remain unresolved. They take note for example, of the case of the three Islamic scholars en route to Sudan who were disappeared inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on January 3, 2012. While the Manila-based AFAD takes pride in the fact that the Philippines is the first Asian country to have an anti-enforced disappearance law in Asia, it stresses the importance of ensure the law’s full implementation and set a good example for its neighboring Asian states to imitate.

The federation also urges the Philippine government to accord its citizens with complete protection mechanisms from enforced disappearance by immediately signing and acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and recognizing the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance.

“Disappointingly, the Philippines until now is not yet a signatory much less a State Party to the Convention despite having committed to support the treaty as one of the voluntary pledges of the Philippine government to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2007,” lamented Ms. Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, Secretary General of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

“While we rage against the disappearance of public funds from the government coffers through large scale corruption and irregularities, we must also strongly protest against the disappearance of people who fight against corruption and other social ills,” Ms. Bacalso added.

Days prior to today’s commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared, AFAD has recently launched a publication on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in selected countries in Asia including the Philippines and the #BringThemHome online campaign in order to continuously raise awareness of and generate public response to the issue of enforced disappearance.

Contact Person:

Darwin Mendiola
Philippine Project Coordinator
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
Mobile no. 0917.8968459
Office No. 490.7862

PRESS RELEASE
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE DISAPPEARED
AUGUST 30, 2013

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[Solidarity] Vietnam should amend law to demonstrate Human Rights Council candidacy commitment – Vietnamese Bloggers

STATEMENT FROM A NETWORK OF VIETNAMESE BLOGGERS
VIETNAM SHOULD AMEND LAW TO DEMONSTRATE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CANDIDACY COMMITMENT

no258-vdh

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

As a candidate for the HRC for the 2014-2016 tenure, Vietnam must demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with the HRC and upholding “the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.

These obligations and responsibilities do not only apply on the international arena, but also inside Vietnam. The Vietnamese government also needs to review the human rights situation in their own country and the Vietnamese people also have a right to freedom of opinion and expression, including on these matters.

In order to improve the protection of human rights in Vietnam, we will take HRC’s principles as guidelines for our actions, which also comply with Vietnam’s obligations under international human rights law.

Read full article @tuyenbo258.blogspot.com @danlambaovn.blogspot.com

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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.

[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.

[People] Violations expose Myanmar reforms as a sham by Renato G. Mabunga

Violations expose Myanmar reforms as a sham
by Renato G. Mabunga
November 6, 2012

Myanmar’s parliament was to debate on Monday a proposal to abolish a provision in the 1975 State Protection Act that allows the government to restrict the fundamental rights of people suspected of “endangering state sovereignty and security, public peace and tranquility.”

The proposal is the latest among legislative initiatives that are part of Myanmar’s “reform process,” although freedoms of expression, assembly and association continue to be systematically violated.

The purported legislative reforms, with the enactment of several new laws and the review of existing ones, have largely resulted in new forms of controls and restrictions that are applied selectively.

Myanmar’s reform process has resulted in little, if any, improvement on the respect for fundamental freedoms on the ground. It has become largely an empty showcase to appease the international community.

A fact finding mission conducted by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) from October 24 to 30 discovered that the rights to peaceful assembly and of association of particular groups, including former political prisoners, labor rights activists, student unions, and members of ethnic nationalities, are still being denied.

An array of laws that restrict the fundamental freedoms of the rights to expression, assembly and association, including the Emergency Act, the Unlawful Association Act, and the 1988 law relating to the formation of associations, remain.

The right to freedom of assembly, in particular, has been denied to groups that are considered “sensitive” or threatening to the government.

In the last two months alone, scores of individuals have been arrested for organizing and participating in peaceful assemblies.

In September, 13 leaders, organizers, and participants of peaceful assemblies to mark International Peace Day were summoned and subsequently charged under the 2012 Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession after their application for a permit was rejected by the government.

Leaders and organizers of peaceful demonstrations, including protest actions against a mining project in the Letpadaung region, are also facing threats and harassment from authorities.

However, some street demonstrations were allowed to proceed, including the anti-Rohingya protest actions of Buddhist monks and university students in Rakhine state.

These double standards in the implementation of the law call into question the universal principles of Buddhism on peace, harmony, wisdom and understanding.

The continued violations of fundamental freedoms and new forms of control expose the empty façade of Myanmar’s reform process. Human rights protection in Myanmar will remain illusory if fundamental freedoms are not properly safeguarded in the current legal reforms.

Renato Mabunga is chairman of Human Rights Defenders, a lobbyist at the UN Human Rights Council and a regional educator on human rights. He was in Myanmar last week to assess freedoms of expression, assembly and association in the country on behalf of FORUM-ASIA

SOURCE

UCA News

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[From the web] PIFA Files 15th Petition vs. Cyber Martial Law -PIFA.ph

PIFA Files 15th Petition vs. Cyber Martial Law

The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) – a broad alliance of organizations and netizens – has filed before the Supreme Court on Monday (October 8, 2012), just a few minutes before the end of office hours, the fifteenth petition against the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Republic Act 10175.

Petitioners asked the high court to issue a “Status Quo Ante Order and/or writ of preliminary injunction” to make government “observe the status quo prevailing before the enactment and effectivity of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.”

PIFA claims that its members have “legal standing to sue” because of the “chilling effect” that impacted on their online activities beginning October 3 – when RA 10175 took effect – subjecting netizens to “unwarranted electronic surveillance” by the Philippine government 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Section 12 of RA 10175 provides for “real-time collection of traffic data” which, the petition explains, “refers to [the collection of] ‘any computer data other than the content of the communication, including, but not limited to, the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service.’ …[which] includes information on the identity of the person sending or receiving computer data.”

“Petitioners have legal standing to file this petition as individual and juridical persons who are lawyers, Internet users, taxpayers, subscribers of Philippine telecommunications companies, bloggers, writers, artists, citizen journalists, traditional media persons with an online (Internet) presence, and concerned citizens,” the 61-page petition reads.

PIFA scores the Cybercrime Prevention Act as “an undue abridgment of the freedom of speech, expression, and of the press” which “authorizes government to conduct an unreasonable search and seizure,” and decries that it “violates the right to privacy of communication and correspondence.”

PIFA warns that “the implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act will clog the dockets of our courts arising from a deluge of frivolous lawsuits,” zeroing on Section 6 which raises the penalty for “all crimes” in other penal statutes as long as committed with the use of information and communication technologies.

PIFA said RA 10175 is “contrary to the guarantees of equal protection under the law” and “acts an ex post facto law” while also violating public international law. The petition also pointed out that the United Nations Human Rights Council has recently recognized just last July that the “freedom of expression on the Internet” is a “basic human right.”

The petition explains that even if Congress does amend the law, such corrective legislation would still “not render the issues moot, because [the violations] are capable of repetition, yet evading review.”

The petition also points out that the Cybercrime Prevention Act contradicts the Constitutional mandate for a “balanced flow of information under a policy respecting freedom of speech and of the press.”

The petitioners are personalities known offline as well as online, such as Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casiño.

Blogger-petitioner Noemi Lardizabal-Dado delivered this statement for her group, Blog Watch Citizen Media: “We believe RA 10175 only increases the lavish power of Philippine libel laws, and that the United Nations Human Rights Council is correct in calling Philippine libel law ‘excessive.’ We join with groups opposed to the Cybercrime Law to amend or repeal the law. We welcome engagement with government so that we can craft a better law which protects women and children and which strives for equal protection for everyone.”

Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) founder Ime Morales said, “As an organization, FWGP believes that RA 10175 is unconstitutional and was pushed to serve certain business interests; and we will continue to fight for our rights as writers and netizens of this country.”

Contact

Ayeen Karunungan
renee.karunungan@gmail.com
0917 505 70 55

Read petition @ pifa.ph

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[From the web] Click ‘Like’ for Libel -PhilRights.org

Click ‘Like’ for Libel
by Ramil A. Andag, PhilRights.org

According to a recent TNS report, almost half (45%) of the Filipino population connects to the internet. The country has an estimated 40 million Facebook users; worldwide, the Philippines ranks 10th in Twitter use, with an estimated 9.5 million registered users. Internet use, especially social media use, among Filipinos is so high that last year, the Philippines was dubbed the social media capital of the world.

The internet, particularly the social networks Facebook and Twitter, has democratized the sphere of public participation in sociopolitical affairs and has become a tool for empowerment for a lot of citizens. In a recent resolution, the UN Human Rights Council recognized “the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms.”

Read full article @ philrights.org

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[In the news] State of human rights under Aquino -www.thepoc.net

State of human rights under Aquino
by Ronalyn Olea, http://www.thepoc.net
July 28, 2012

The situation of human rights in the Philippines was the subject of the recent United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review. It called attention to the continuing extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations and the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines.

The short period of the Aquino government that was reviewed drew concern from 22 countries over the continuing extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture; the prevalence of paramilitary groups and private armies; and the non-prosecution of perpetrators of rights violations.

From June 2010 to June 2012 under the Aquino administration, human rights group Karapatan documented 99 cases of extrajudicial killings and 11 cases of enforced disappearances.

In Quezon province alone, there have been more than 120 cases of human rights abuses documented since 2011.

Read full article @ www.thepoc.net

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[Press Release] TFDP: Human Rights not a priority of PNoy

TFDP: Human Rights not a priority of PNoy

Today Task Force Detainees of the Philippines declared that human rights are not a priority of PNoy.

“It seems that PNoy is a hopeless case. One year after the 2011 hunger strike for Freedom and Human Rights of political prisoners, his government has not released a single political detainee. In fact, this administration is deaf and blind to the reality of political prisoners,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.

During President Aquino’s 2011 SONA, political prisoners nationwide declared a hunger strike to demand for their release and a human rights agenda of the government. This was triggered by the late issuance by PNoy of his supposed first executive clemency to a political prisoner suffering cancer in the National Bilibid Prison.

TFDP and other human rights groups had a dialogue with the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) in Malacanang and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the issue. The government headed by Secretary Leila De Lima promised to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Pardon (PCBREP) according to the group.

TFDP joined with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) in a SONA protest action in Commonwealth to express their demands.

“The human rights community has been calling for PNoy’s National Human Rights Action Plan since his first SONA in 2010 and he’s not been listening. NHRAP has been a long overdue obligation of the Philippine Government even during PGMA’s term. Even the U.N. Human Rights Council has recommended its issuance to once and for all give a roadmap for Philippine Government’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of the Filipino people.” Amistad added.

“No human rights agenda, not a single perpetrator in jail, no justice for human rights victims, continued killings of human rights defenders, this is the track record of PNoy. His actions has always favored big business and not the plight of the poor. Ang matuwid na daan ni PNoy ay para lamang sa iilan. Ang kaunlaran na pinagmamalaki ng pamahalaan ay para lamang sa iilan hindi para sa taumbayan, ” TFDP lamented.

The group also reminded President Aquino to fulfill his only promise for human rights in his last SONA 2011, “Pass the Compensation Act for all victims of Martial Law. Justice for all victims of human rights violations! End impunity! It’s your obligation to protect and fulfill the Filipino peoples’ human rights!” TFDP concluded.

###
For more details pls contact:
Egay Cabalitan, TFDP-NCR Staff
4378054; 09219645017; egay.advocacytfdp@gmail.com

Press Release
July 23, 2012

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[Statement] AFAD Statement On the 18th Anniversary of the Flame of Courage Monument and 27th year of the Disappearance of the Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano

AFAD Statement
On the 18th Anniversary of the Flame of Courage Monument and 27th year of the Disappearance of the Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano

11 July 2012

A Liberating Sacrifice

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King

In Philippine history, a number of religious organizations have played an important role not only in building the moral foundation of society, but also in championing the cause of human dignity and liberty especially under the most difficult and trying situations. In the course of championing the cause of human rights, especially of the wretched of the earth, Church people were and continue to be subjected to persecution. The progressive segments of the Philippine churches have strongly responded to the cry of the people against repression and oppression. A number of Church people had sacrificed their lives “ for the ransom of many” by protecting people’s rights. The recent killing of Dutch layworker and missionary, Willem Geertman is one of the latest forms of persecution of the progressive segment of the Churches – concluded by police investigations as simple robbery without the benefit of a scrutiny on the motivation behind, considering the victim’s land reform and anti-mining advocacy.

Since Martial Law, many religious people were not spared from the brutal human rights violations of its worst forms, including enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. For families of the disappeared in the Philippines, the name of Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano as martyr and hero, because of his life of selfless service to the poor, shall always be remembered. Twenty-seven years ago, in Labangon, on 11 July 1985, Fr. Romano was abducted by alleged members of the Military Intelligence Group in Labangon, Cebu City. Despite strong evidence against the perpetrators, the latter were acquitted.

The still unresolved disappearance of Fr. Romano and the very recent killing of the Dutch missionary, Willem Geertman are concrete manifestations of the continuing persecution of Church people who lived the very essence of the gospels; followed the footsteps of Christ and served the poor, deprived and oppressed. In treading the road less travelled through their human rights advocacy, they earned the ire of the Machiavellian forces of our times. Their persecution and the utter absence of redress prove the existence of impunity.

Today is the 27th anniversary of the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano. In this commemoration, we reflect on the inspiring life and exemplary deeds of Fr. Rudy Romano.

In a couple of days, we will also commemorate the 18th anniversary of the unveiling of “Flame of Courage,” as part of the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido memorial shrine at the Baclaran Redemptorist church grounds. The monument bearing the figure of a woman holding a torch along with a child carrying a picture of his missing father symbolizes the hope of many families of the disappeared to be once again reunited with their disappeared loved ones. The monument now serves as a place where families, friends and human rights advocates gather to remember, offer prayers and pay tribute to the memory of Filipino Desaparecidos. On this occasion, as we remember Fr. Rudy, Mr. Geertman and many other victims, we call on the Philippine government under the administration of Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to prioritize the enactment of the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law and to accept the recommendation of many States during the 2nd Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines before the UN Human Rights Council to immediately sign and ratify of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. These two complementary legal measures, if adopted and put in place, can serve as effective tools not only to provide better human rights protection, but also to combat impunity.

The supreme sacrifice of Fr. Rudy Romano, layleader and Dutch missionary, Mr. Willem Geertman and of many others serve as seeds which will certainly sprout and grow and bear fruits a hundredfold. We believe that the sacrifice made by righteous men and women like them can lead us to the true path of a just, peaceful and humane society free from enforced disappearances and other forms of human rights violations.

As the Gospel of John 2:24 states, “I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat fails to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

As the Gospel of John 2:24 states, “I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat fails to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” The perpetrators have not silenced just men and women just because they have killed them or made them disappear.

Justice for Fr. Rudy Romano!
Justice for Mr. Willem Geertman!
Justice for all victims of persecution of Church people.

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO
Chairperson

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secreetary-General

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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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[In the news] Philippines urged to implement ban on tortures -www.bworldonline.com

Philippines urged to implement ban on tortures

by Amilbahar S. Mawallil, www.bworldonline.com

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Human rights groups are calling on the government to adopt the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Council on absolute prohibition of torture during its universal periodic review held last week in Geneva.

“A number of human rights violations, including against the freedom from torture was highlighted during the session, especially with respect to ensuring that victims of torture and ill-treatment had effective access to a medical evaluation and the establishment of a rehabilitation program for torture victims,” Philippine nongovernmental organization Medical Action Group (MAG) said in a statement sent to BusinessWorld over the weekend.

The group said various countries also called on the Philippine government to enhance human rights-based training for all law enforcement personnel on the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.

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