Tag Archives: Universal Periodic Review

[From the web] Special Rapporteur rejects misinformation about her current academic visit to Philippines -OHCHR

Special Rapporteur rejects misinformation about her current academic visit to Philippines

GENEVA (5 May 2017) – The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has released the following statement clarifying reports in the Filipino media and rejecting misinformation about her current visit to Philippines to attend an academic conference:

“I am presently visiting Philippines to participate in an academic conference on drug related issues. It is normal routine for Special Rapporteurs to visit countries to attend different conferences or events, but such activities are not official country visits.

My current stay in Philippines is not an official visit, so I will not be assessing the situation in the country, and there will be no report presented to the Human Rights Council.

I reject the statement issued today by the spokesperson’s office of President Rodrigo Duterte stating that the Philippine Government had not been informed in advance of my trip to the country.

On 28 April 2017, the Government was officially informed of my forthcoming visit to the country to take part in an academic conference on drug related issues. The Government was also informed that the trip was not an official visit.

The Government of the Philippines replied with letters dated 29 April and 1 May, acknowledging reception of my letter and reacting to the information about my upcoming academic trip. Exchanges on this matter by phone, mail and email between my mandate and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines continued until 4 May.

I also question the Philippine Government’s claim that I have not accepted the invitation to conduct an official visit to the country. Last year, I rejected the conditions imposed by the Government on the visit, as they did not comply with the rules and methods of work of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

I look forward to a positive engagement with the Government of the Philippines on issues of interest to my mandate. I remain deeply committed to undertake an official visit to the country.”
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Ms. Agnes Callamard (France) is the new Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. She has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. Ms. Callamard is the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University and has previously worked with Article 19 and Amnesty International. She has advised multilateral organizations and governments around the world, has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries, and has published extensively on human rights and related fields.

The UN Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page: Philippines

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org) or write to eje@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[Statement] Statement on the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development act bill -UN

Statement on the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development act bill

August 5, 2012

More than 40 years ago, during the International Year for Human Rights, the Philippines joined the global community in proclaiming that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.

Since then, the Philippines has ratified international conventions that recognize these rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Philippines also became a signatory to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, among others.

In 2000, along with 191 other UN member states, the Philippines committed to fully support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when it signed the Millennium Declaration. MDG 5, which aims to reduce maternal death and provide universal access to reproductive health, is, however, the goal that is least likely to be achieved by the Philippines by 2015.

In the recent Family Health Survey (FHS), which was conducted in August-September 2011 with a recall period of six years for the data, it was estimated that for every 100,000 live births, there are 221 women dying due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. This was a 36% increase from the 2006 Family Planning Survey data, which showed 162 estimated deaths per 100,000 live births. The FHS also estimated that, across all regions in the Philippines, the number of girls 15-19 years old who have delivered live births was 54 per 1,000 live births from 39 in 2006. For the 20-24 age group, the increase was to 159 per 1,000 live births from 149 in the 2006 survey.

Having extensively studied the provisions of the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act bill, the United Nations in the Philippines views that the proposed law will fundamentally enable the government to meet its commitments to its citizens. It will also aid President Benigno Aquino III to deliver on his obligations as articulated in his Social Contract with the Filipino people.

As in many other countries where similar policies have been introduced, enacting a law that would address the reproductive health needs of the Filipino people would, over time, vastly improve health and quality of life and support development through:

  • Giving couples information about and access to voluntary family planning methods
  • Helping couples space pregnancies more effectively so as to reduce the risk of premature birth and low birth weight
  • Making it less likely that mothers and infants will die during pregnancy, childbirth or soon after delivery
  • Reducing the increasingly worrisome spread of HIV/AIDS, especially among young people
  • Promoting breastfeeding
  • Preventing teenage pregnancy by educating schoolchildren in an age-appropriate manner about normal human development, including reproductive health
  • Allowing poor women to exercise their right to have the number of children that they want

Crucially, by preventing unintended pregnancies, a reproductive health law would help prevent recourse to life-threatening abortions.

The current high economic growth of more than 5% per year promises to lift millions of Filipinos out of poverty. But hopes of future prosperity could turn to dust if the country is not able to deal with the population growth by giving men and women access to the information and means to freely and responsibly exercise their human right to have just the number of children they want. If current trends continue, as the country grows richer, the number of people living in poverty will increase. At present, about 20 million Filipinos live in slum conditions. Urban population is growing at a rate of 60%, and it is estimated that by 2030, 75% of the Philippine population will be living in urban areas. While cities may look better off on the average, deeper in-city analysis exposes the urban poor to be among the most vulnerable to natural disasters and economic shocks.

As important as it is to point out what the bill addresses is to clarify the misinformation about it. The United Nations is confident that enacting the bill would not lead to the imposition of coercive measures such as a two-child policy. The United Nations has long resolved that given correct and appropriate information on family planning, individuals and couples will be able to exercise their exclusive right to determine their family size. The United Nations also believes that apprehensions such as exposure of people to risks of contraceptive use, encouragement of sexual promiscuity and legalization of abortion have no basis.

Instituting a reproductive health policy is consistent with the government’s duty under the Constitution “to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.” In its working group session last May, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN member states, noted the lack of access to reproductive health services, especially among the poor, in the Philippines. The working group recommended that the country adopt a national reproductive health policy and “intensify efforts to meet the MDG5 on maternal mortality, including ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.” The country’s human rights performance will once again be assessed at the UPR plenary session at the Human Rights Council in September.
The United Nations is mandated to serve the people of the Philippines. It takes seriously its mandate to work with the government and all other stakeholders for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the advancement of public health.

Reproductive health is not about population numbers. It is about ensuring a life of health and dignity. Issues around the reproductive health bill have been addressed and clarified for over a decade now. Time spent discussing these issues repeatedly is measured by the lives of the 15 women we lose to maternal deaths every day. Everyone must come together to secure a better future for all Filipinos, especially the young and future generations, and there is no better time than now. Current circumstances present this opportunity, and it is in the hands of policy-makers to make it happen.

For more information, please contact:
World Health Organization:
Cora Acosta, Communications Officer/ 09175553873/acostac@wpro.who.int
United Nations Population Fund:
Arlene Calaguian, Information & Communication Officer/ 09175153559/ alano@unfpa.org
United Nations Children’s Fund:
Marge Francia, Media Officer/ 09178589447/ mfrancia@unicef.org
United Nations Information Centre Manila:
Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer/09175000622/teresa.debuque@unic.org
***

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[Event] RTD – lobbying on pending recommendations on the UPR and Discussion on the tripartite monitoring of implementation of UPR RECOMMENDATIONS

RTD – LOBBYING ON PENDING RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE UPR
and
DISCUSSION ON THE TRIPARTITE MONITORING OF IMPLEMENTATION OF UPR RECOMMENDATIONS

JULY 11, 2012

9:30 – 2:30 pm
Multi-Purpose Hall, Commission on Human RIghts

Please be ready with lobbying papers on your particular concerns.

will appreciate confirmation of attendance addressed to :
Dir. Karen Dumpit : kgdumpit@yahoo.com and
cc: pahra@philippinehumanrights.org

[Statement] Human Rights Community Commemorates International Day Against Torture by free zone -HRD-Pilipinas

Human Rights Community Commemorates International Day Against Torture by free zone
26 June 2012

In 1997, the United Nations General Assembly decided to mark this historic date and designated 26 June each year as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

On this significant day, the Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas together with the human rights communities worldwide commemorates this important date in pushing through a much needed process of globalizing human rights and acknowledging torture, and all forms of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as absolutely prohibited and universally illegal.

Torture has no place in a civilized society like ours. But we are gravely concerned of its continuing practice not only to persons under investigation but against human rights defenders.

A recent case showed that farmer-leader Franklin Barrera, 18, claimed that he was abducted and tortured by the military. This happened on June 7, 2012 in Lopez, Quezon Province.

Barrera was allegedly hit in the nape with a rifle butt when he failed to identify the persons in the picture presented by the military. He claimed that he was forced to swallow three spoonful of salt and made to drink water to liquefy it. He managed to escape and was eventually confined at Doña Martha Memorial Hospital in Atimonan, Quezon.

Given this incident, we call not just for a reorientation but also reformation of our institutions in the work for human rights, particularly the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders with the likes of Barrera.

Soon we hope that human rights defenders are truly considered partners in the creation of a worldwide culture of human rights, peace and development — where torture becomes a thing of the past and where human rights defenders are protected in the conduct of their duties.

In the latest United Nation’s process of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) last month, the Philippines claimed a decrease in the number of reported cases of torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings; but, one victim of any human rights violations is too many. Efforts to prosecute perpetrators remain insufficient. And there is still much concern over slow convictions for human rights violations.

Up until now, cases involving Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr, who is accused of torture, killing and disappearance of political activists have not been resolved. Palparan is still at large. Based on unconfirmed reports he is currently under the protection of close friends in the military and private individuals.

It is not a question of whether or not cases of torture have been lessened. It is on how our government solves and permanently eradicates this procedure in their practices. The police and military should seriously respond to this challenge by identifying concrete steps, clear policy and truthful implementation of their sworn duty based on the international standards of human rights.

Finally, as a measure of sincerity to end cruel, degrading and inhuman act, the government especially President Benigno Aquino III must openly declare war against torturers, and yield them with appropriate penalties they deserve.###

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-807463
http://renatomabunga.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/human-rights-community-commemorates-international-day-against-torture/

[Blog] Live webcast hinggil sa karapatang pantao ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Live webcast hinggil sa karapatang pantao

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Isang malaking karangalan sa akin ang mapasama sa live webcast viewing ng Universal Periodic Review (UPR) ng Pilipinas nitong Mayo 29, 2012. Kasabay ito ng naganap na botohan ng mga senador sa impeachment. Isinagawa ang nasabing UPR sa ikatlong palapag ng multipurpose hall ng Commission on Human Rights (CHR) sa Daang Commonwealth sa Lungsod Quezon.

Nag-imbita ang PAHRA at PhilRights sa pamamagitan ng email at tawag sa telepono sa iba’t ibang NGOs at POs nang sila’y maimbitahan naman ng CHR para sa magaganap na live webcast. Maaga pa lang, bandang alas-dos ay naroon na ako, dahil nakalagay sa imbitasyon ay magsisimula ito ng 2:15 pm at magtatapos ng 8:15 pm. Nakaanunsyo rin ito sa HR Online. Maya-maya’t dumating na rin ang mga kinatawan ng Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), PhilRights, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Medical Action Group (MAG), mga kawani ng CHR, Youth for National Democracy (YND), Sarilaya, Women’s Legal Bureau, mga department heads ng CHR, at marami pang iba. Ako naman ang kumatawan sa Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita ng Lungsod (KPML). May photographer din at may taga-video sa loob ng session hall.

Mga 150 katao rin ang nakadalo sa live webcast, na nagsimula nang ganap na ikatlo ng hapon. Naka-LCD ito sa isang malaking pader. Malakas din ang sound kaya dinig ito kahit nasa bandang likod. Aircon ang silid na ang dingding ay salamin. Sa ibaba ng screen ay nakalagay ang http://www.unorg/webcast – United Nations Webcast. Sinimulan ang buong sesyon sa panalangin at sa pag-awit ng Lupang Hinirang.

Ang nag-emcee ay si Ms. Karen Dumpit ng CHR. At ang nagbigay ng paunang pananalita ay si Commissioner Norberto de la Cruz, Officer in Charge.

Sa live webcast, ang tagapag-ulat para sa Pilipinas ay si Department of Justice secretary Leila De Lima, na dating Chief ng CHR. Tinalakay niya ang ulat ng Pilipinas hinggil sa karapatang pantao sa harap ng mga kinatawan ng iba’t ibang bansa na pulong ng United Nations Human Rights Council.

Binanggit ni De Lima ang pagsasabatas ng amended Migrant Workers Act, ang amended Labor Code hinggil sa nightwork for women, ang pag-decriminalize sa libel, ang pagsasabatas ng Anti-Torture Act of 2009, at ang ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking. Marami pa siyang natalakay hinggil sa karapatang pantao sa bansa. Matapos niyang mag-ulat ay nagbigay naman ng pahayag ang iba’t ibang bansa. Ayon sa ilang mga kasama sa HR network, nasa 71 bansa ang nakatakdang magpahayag hinggil sa ulat ng Pilipinas.

Agad kong napansin dito ang iba’t ibang spelling ng mga bansa nang sila na’y magpahayag, magtanong at magkomento hinggil sa ulat ng Pilipinas. Ang una na rito ay ang bansang Singapour (Singapore), na imbes na pore na karaniwan nating alam ay pour na akala mo’y nagbuhos ang pagkabaybay sa pangalan ng bansa. Sumunod ay Slovaque, na tingin ko’y Slovakia, ang Serbia naman ay Serbie.

Saka ko lang naunawaan ito nang malaman kong sa Geneva nga pala sila nag-uulat. Gayunman, inilista ko ang mga pangalan ng bansang ito na nasa wikang Pranses, at sa talaan ay isinama ko ang tamang pagbaybay ayon sa nakikita natin sa Pilipinas. Gayunman, ang Philippines ay tama ang pagkabaybay.

Marami ding hindi mo agad maintindihan tulad ng Pays-Bas, na iyon pala’y bansang The Netherlands, kung saan ang Pays-Bas ay salitang Pranses, ang kahulugan ng pays ay mga bansa at ang bansa ay mababa (low countries).

Nagkomento hinggil sa ulat ng Pilipinas ang mga bansang Corée du Sud (South Korea), Slovakia, Afrique du Sud (South Africa), Espagne (Spain), Sri Lanka, Suede (Sweden), Thailande (Thailand), Timor Leste (East Timor), Trinidad an Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago), Emirats Arabies Unis (United Arab Emirates), Royaume-Uni (United Kingdom), Etats Unis (USA), Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Australie (Australia), Austriche (Austria), Azerbadjan (Azerbaijan), Bahrein (Bahrain), Belarus, Bresil (Brazil), Brunei Darussalam, Cambodgie (Cambodia), Canada, Chile, Cuba, Danemark (Denmark), Egypte (Egypt), France, Saint-Siege, Allemagne (Germany), Indie (India), Indonesie (Indonesia). Di gaanong kita ang buong pangalan ng ilang bansang nag-ulat pagkat nakapokus ang camera sa tao kaya di na natin nalaman kung paano ang pagka-spell, tulad ng Bangladesh, Belgium, Ecuador, atbp.

May mga bansang lalaki ang nagsasalita ngunit boses-babae, tulad ng Qatar. Meron namang babae ang nagsasalita ngunit boses-lalaki, tulad ng Madagascar. Haka ko, hindi nagsasalita ng Ingles iyong iba at interpreter nila ang nagsasalita, mga interpreter na nasa kanilang likod at nakatayo. Nabanggit naman ng Australia na dapat mahuli at managot pag napatunayan ang mga suspek sa mga extra-judicial killings sa Pilipinas, tulad nina Palparan, Reyes ng Palawan at mga suspek sa Maguindanao massacre.

Sinagot ni De Lima ang mga tanong at mungkahi ng mga nagpahayag na bansa. Sinabi niyang pinaigting na ang pagsubaybay (monitoring) ng bansa hinggil sa EJK (extra-juducial killings), sapilitang pagkawala (forced disapperances) at torture. Nagtayo na rin ng special task force ang DOJ kasama ang independyenteng CHR, at meron silang MOA (memorandum of agreement). Nagkaroon na rin ng legal remedies tulad ng writ of habeas data. Pagpapatibay ng witness protection program. Pagkakaroon ng IRR (implementing rules and regulations) ng Ra 9745 o Anti-Torture Act of 2009. Pati na rin ang Rome Statute – RA 9851 na batas hinggil sa IHL international humanitarian law, genocide, atbp. Meron na ring panukalang batas (bill) sa kongreso hinggil sa sapilitang pagkawala.

Pinagsalita rin ni De Lima ang dalawa niyang kasamahan, tulad ng Executive Director ng Philippine Commission of Women (PCW) at Undersecretary ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Di ko na nakuha ang kanilang mga pangalan. Iniulat ng taga-PCW ang hinggil sa reproductive and sexual health, mother and children’s health at anti-discrimination bill, habang iniulat naman ng taga-DSWD ang hinggil sa right to education, basic literacy program, rescuing child laborers, at ang anti-pornography council. Nakita rin sa video si CHR Commissioner Etta Rosales, ngunit di siya nagsalita sa harapan ng UNHRC.

Ang sumunod na bansang nagpahayag ay ang Iraq, Irlande (Ireland), Jamaique (Jamaica), Laos, Lettonie (Latvia), Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malaisie (Malaysia), Mexique (Mexico), Qatar, Myanmar, Pays-Bas, Nouvelle-Zelande (New Zealand), Nicaragua, Noruege (Norway), Pakistan, Palestine, Portugal at Maroc (Morocco).

Sinagot ni Sec. De Lima ang mga katanungan mula sa Laos, Mexico, New Zealand at Morocco. Ayon sa kanya, isinasagawa ng Pilipinas and prosecution and conviction of traffickers, rescue of traffic victimes, awareness raising, at ang recent ascension ng Pilipinas sa Rome Statute. Pinagsalita niyang muli ang taga-DSWD na nag-ulat hinggil sa PWDs (persons with disabilities) kung saan ang mga ito’y may 20% discount sa mga gamot mula sa Mercury Drugs, at 5% discount naman sa mga pangunahing bilihin. Meron din umanong panukalang batas na pag-amyenda sa Magna Carta on PWD upang igiit ang pantay na pagkakataon sa pagtatrabaho.

Dinagdag din ni De Lima ang pag-institusyonalisa ng mekanismong feedback. Kasama rin, anya, ang anti-poverty and corruption sa 16-Point Agenda ng social contract sa mamamayang Pilipino. Ayon pa sa kanya, nagpunta ang mga kinatawan ng Pilipinas sa Geneva dahil sa kanilang human rights obligation, at ang lahat ng rekomendasyon ng mga bansa ay kanilang pag-aaralan. Sa huli’y nagpasalamat na siya sa pangulo ng UNHRC na isa ring babae, at sa lahat ng mga kinatawan ng mga bansa.

Bandang 6:30 na ng gabi, nagkaroon kami ng 5 minutes break sa loob ng session hall. Matapos iyon ay nagpahayag ang ilang mga dumalo sa live webcast na iyon ng kanilang kuro-kuro. Unang nagsalita ang kinatawan ng PAHRA na si Rose Trajano kung saan iniulat niyang tatlong bansa ang nagrekomenda ng pag-ratify ng optional protocol, at 5 silang naroon sa Geneva, na kinatawan ng iba’t ibang human rights organization sa bansa upang mangampanya hindi sa mismong pulong kundi sa paggawa pa lamang ng draft. Ang ikalawa’y nagpahayag hinggil sa compensation bill. Ang ikatlo’y nagsalita ang mula sa Komite ng Edukasyon ng CHR. Ang ikaapat ay mula sa BMP. Ang ikalima’y mula sa Women’s Legal Bureau, sumunod ay mula muli sa CHR. At nagpahayag din ang tagapangulo ng PAHRA na si Max De Mesa.

May mga nagpahayag na may kakulangan din ang mga ulat ng Pilipinas, tulad ng hindi pagdodokumento sa mga paglabag sa karapatan ng manggagawa. Ngunit sinagot ito na dapat ay verified cases lang ang iniuulat. Ibig sabihin, ang mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ay dapat agarang iulat sa kinauukulan.

Matapos ang pagpapahayag ng mga kuro-kuro, ipinakilala naman ang bagong website ng karapatang pantao – ang iHumanRights.ph. Meron silang planong sa Disyembre 2012, dapat meron nang “over 40,000 documents encoded and categorized by HRV, UPR and Treaty Bodies”. Inanunsyo rin dito ng emcee ang aklat na “A Road in Search of a Map: The Philippines’ Human Rights Compliance”. Ang nilalaman nito’y mga tinipong akda ng CHR at Civil Society Reports para sa “2nd Cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process for the Philippines, 2008-2011″, at naglalaman ito ng 92 pahina, na nasa 6″ x 9” ang sukat. Limitadong kopya lang ito at nakakuha ako ng isang kopya.

Hindi naman kami nagutom dahil habang kami’y nakikinig, maya’t maya ang dating ng mga pagkaing Pinoy, tulad ng cornick, banana cue, fish ball, palamig na sago, at may mineral water. Ang hapunan naman namin ay binalot, kung saan namili kami sa limang klase ng ulam: tapa, tosino, baboy, adobo at manok. Ang pinili ko ay tapa.

Bago umuwi’y naglitratuhan muna sa harapan kasama ang mga dumalo habang hawak nila ang tarpouline hinggil sa naganap na live webcast sa CHR. Alas-otso na ng gabi nang kami’y umalis sa lugar.

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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.

Read full article @ www.bworldonline.com

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[From the web] Universal Periodic Review: Series of recommendations to Philippines -OHCHR.org

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Philippines. These included, among others:

  • To step up efforts to fully prohibit and address cases of torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and ensure there were mechanisms in place to address such cases;
  • To enhance human rights-based training for all law enforcement personnel on the absolute prohibition of torture and ill treatment;
  • To ratify the Convention on forced disappearances, withdraw all reservations to the CAT and ensure national legislation was in line with the Rome ICC Statute, to ensure related cases were well recorded;
  • To ensure that victims of torture and ill treatment had effective access to a medical evaluation; to improve the condition of prisons and detention centres;
  • To end impunity for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and bring those responsible to justice, including Major General Jovito Palparan Jr, former Governor Joel Reyes and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre;
  • To ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders and journalists and effectively investigate and prosecute attacks against journalists and to introduce into domestic law strong legislation prohibiting these acts and imposing criminal penalties;
  • To invite the UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country;
  • To dismantle and disarm all paramilitary forces and militias, or alternatively ensure that the army exercises full control of these elements; to revoke Executive Order 546 on the use of child soldiers;
  • To step up efforts to combat human trafficking and to strengthen relations with countries of transit and origin for victims of human trafficking and to establish programmes for the rehabilitation and social integration for women victims of sexual exploitation;
  • To amend the abortion law to allow safe abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the health and life of the pregnant woman was at risk; to enact legislation to address the status of children born out of wedlock;
  • To step up efforts to combat child labour and to fully prohibit corporal punishment; to increase measures on the rights to education to ensure equal access to education for all children, to special attention for children with disabilities and street children;
  • To step up efforts to meet the basic needs of the society’s exposed groups; To redouble efforts in the area of wealth distribution and poverty eradication;
  • To ratify ILO Convention 189 pertaining to domestic workers and 169 concerning indigenous people;
  • To implement the Act on the Rights of Indigenous People to guarantee that economic activities did not have a negative effect on the rights of indigenous people; to intensify efforts for the sustainable use of natural resources;
  • To consider establishing legislation to combat discrimination against LGBT persons;
  • To consider issuing a standing invitation to Special Procedures.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights29May2012am.aspx

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[Press Release] Recommendations by UN will make real difference to Philippine victims of torture, IRCT says

IRCT IN GENEVA
Recommendations by UN will make real difference to Philippine victims of torture, IRCT says

30-05-2012

Torture in the Philippines was among the primary focuses of the United Nations Human Rights Council during the country’s Universal Periodic Review yesterday.

More than 15 states focused on torture in their recommendations to improve human rights in the Philippines. These recommendations include:

that the Government of the Philippines effectively implements the 2009 Anti-Torture Act, with a particular focus on ensuring that all investigations and prosecutions of allegations of torture and ill-treatment fully cover the possibility of command responsibility as stipulated in section 13 of the Act; and that all alleged victims of torture and ill-treatment have effective access to a medical evaluation of their injuries by institutionalising the use of the Istanbul Protocol, including by providing guidelines to judges, prosecutors, forensic doctors and medical personnel dealing with detained persons, to detect and document physical and psychological trauma of torture;

that the Government of the Philippines effectively implement the anti torture act with a special focus on responsibility of superior officers, access to a medical examination and the establishment of a sufficiently resourced rehabilitation programme for torture victims.
One of the main objectives of the second cycle of the UPR is to follow up to recommendations from the first UPR cycle; another objective is to ensure that recommendations are increasingly concrete and focused to promote implementation and facilitate monitoring and evaluation of these efforts.

The IRCT would like to commend the governments of Denmark and Ireland for making clear, concrete and focused recommendations that are highly pertinent to the specific domestic context of the Philippines, and which, if accepted and implemented, will make a real difference for access to justice and rehabilitation for torture victims in the Philippines.

The IRCT also welcomes the constructive approach taken by the Government of the Philippines to the UPR as clearly shown in its initiative to establish a multi-stakeholder mechanism to monitor implementation of UPR recommendations. The IRCT encourages the Government of the Philippines to accept all recommendations pertaining to torture and ill-treatment without delay so that the important national implementation work can commence immediately.

The Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, is a new mechanism of the United Nations to review the human rights record of all 192 member countries every four years. The Human Rights Council conducts these reviews, which result in recommendations to the state under review of ways in which they shall improve the country’s human rights situation.

For more information:
Read the IRCT’s UPR guide, available for download here as a PDF.

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[Statement] JOINT STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DISAPPEARED 2012 -FIND & AFAD

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DISAPPEARED 2012
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD)
28 May 2012

As the world observes the International Week of the Disappeared on 28 May – 02 June 2012, the Philippines undergoes the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow, 29 May 2012.

One of the standing Council recommendations to the Philippines is to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Philippines neither “accepted” nor “refused” the said recommendation but declared “to consider” it.

It is hoped that the Philippines during the UPR will once and for all decide and sincerely commit to sign and accede to the Convention soonest.

The commission of enforced disappearances may have actually decelerated under the Aquino watch. Considering, however, that enforced disappearances are continuing offenses so long as the fate and whereabouts of the victims are not established with certainty, the number of enforced disappearances remains high with over 2,000 continuing and unresolved offenses from the Marcos regime to the current administration.

The Aquino dispensation is therefore equally responsible to investigate, prosecute and penalize the perpetrators of enforced disappearances as his predecessors during whose terms the deprivation of liberty began but continues to the present. The State is accountable for all unresolved disappearances whoever is in power and whenever the abduction, arrest or detention was made.

In 2007 as one of the Philippines’ pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council, it committed to support the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The families of desaparecidos in the country were then hopeful that the Philippines would be one of the early signatories and States Parties to the Convention. To date, the Convention has 91 signatories and 32 States Parties but the Philippines is neither a signatory nor, much less, a State Party.

The Convention is a landmark international human rights instrument that enshrines the non-derogable right against enforced disappearance, the right to know the truth, the right of victims and their families to reparation and rehabilitation, among others, and the duties of States Parties to protect these rights, investigate and bring to justice the violators, and prevent further commission of enforced disappearance.

On October 6, 2010, three days before the completion of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s first 100 days in office, representatives of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and two families of the disappeared met with the President in Malacanang to urge him to endorse the Philippines’ signing of the Convention and the immediate enactment of an anti-enforced disappearance law, and to address the unresolved cases of enforced disappearances in the country. President Aquino promised to “study” the group’s concerns.

One year and seven months hence, with separate follow-up meetings with the Assistant Secretaries in the Office of the President and the Department of Foreign Affairs in July last year and February this year respectively, more particularly on the signing of the Convention as the passage of the bill in Congress has been on track, the Aquino government has remained outside the circle of signatories and States Parties to the Convention.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have already approved the bill on third reading. Government looks to the law, whose passage is imminent, to lay the groundwork for the country’s accession to the Convention.

Apparently, the executive has taken the reverse path of waiting for Congress to enact a law first before the Philippines’ binding itself to the Convention. It should be pointed out, however, that it is Article 3 of the Convention that mandates States Parties “to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offense under its criminal law.” In other words it is the country’s accession to the Convention that should have facilitated the enactment of a domestic law on enforced disappearance.

If accession to the Convention is the Philippines’ goal as pronounced by government, why has it not yet even signed the treaty?

If enhancement of “domestic legal and institutional capacities” to deal with the issue of enforced disappearance is “the current priority” of government, the more reason the country should sign the Convention with dispatch because the law on enforced disappearance will soon be a reality and trainings to enhance the capacities of implementers should have started long ago. After all, the Convention does not create any new implementing institutions. They are all existing. Appropriate government agencies dealing with deprivation of liberty, investigation, prosecution and administration of justice, reparation including psychosocial rehabilitation, universal jurisdiction and extradition are all in place and have long been operating.

With respect to the latter two legal concerns (universal jurisdiction and extradition under Articles 9 and 13, respectively, of the Convention), it should be noted that these two Articles are a virtual reproduction of Articles 5 and 8, respectively, of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which the Philippines has been a State Party since June 18, 1986. Moreover, Article 9 of the enforced disappearance Convention has its equivalent in Article 4 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on Sale of Children, Child Prosecution and Child Pornography which the Philippines ratified on May 28, 2002.

If these similar provisions did not impede the signing and ratification of the said previously ratified instruments, they should neither hinder the signing and ratification of the enforced disappearance Convention.

Hope may spring eternal from the human heart, but we hope for the signing and accession to the Convention and the enactment of an anti-enforced disappearance law now even as we reiterate our strong support to the repeated requests of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances for the Philippines to invite the Working Group to visit the country.

MARY AILEEN DIEZ BACALSO                NILDA LAGMAN SEVILLA
Secretary General of AFAD                          Co-Chairperson FIND
and Focal Person of ICAED

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[In the news] EU diplomats press Aquino admin on improving human rights situation -GMA News

EU diplomats press Aquino admin on improving human rights situation.

BY MICHAELA DEL CALLAR, GMA News
May 28, 2012

Top European Union diplomats in the Philippines on Monday pressed the Aquino administration to step up efforts in addressing human rights in the country, the condition of which Philippine officials say has improved but rights watchdogs continue to view with alarm.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux made the statement during a meeting between the Union’s diplomats and rights advocates ahead of a United Nations periodic review of the state of human rights in the country.

The review could have a bearing on how the single-currency block assesses its relationship with Manila.

The EU, which had voiced strong concern over human rights abuses in the Philippines, is one of the country’s largest providers of development assistance and aid, particularly in Mindanao.

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[Press Release] EU Ambassadors meet the NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

EU Ambassadors meet the NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

On 28 May, Ambassadors from European Union Member States and Head of the EU Delegation in the Philippines, Mr. Guy Ledoux, met with the Philippine NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) at Bantayog Memorial, Quezon City – a well-known place of commemoration for the victims of Martial Law and torture. The diplomats were welcomed by Sister Crescencia Lucero, Co-Chairperson of the TFDP Board, and by Executive Director Emmanuel Amistad. The visit was a welcome opportunity not only to receive an implementation update of a project funded by the EU with PHP 2.750.000 but to also discuss the situation of human rights in the Philippines, especially with regard to the upcoming 2nd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the country, to take place on 29 May 2012 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

During the meeting the diplomats witnessed a presentation by TFDP on their work as one of the oldest NGOs of the country, established during the height of Martial Law in 1974. This was followed by an overview of the EU funded project that aims to popularize and build awareness on human rights and in particular torture and violence against women and children.

Mr. Amistad stated: “Since its inception this project has allowed TFDP to raise awareness on torture and violence, especially against women and children, with members of society that are most vulnerable to abuses. Through this project we were able to reach women and children in the communities, teach them how to spot and document human rights abuses and how to claim their rights.”

He added: “In 2009 the Philippines adopted its Anti-Torture Law, an important instrument to penalize torture and seek redress for victims. TFDP, also through this project, was involved with other stakeholders in the drafting of Implementing Rules and Regulations on this law that should make it a more effective tool in the fight against impunity in the Philippines.”

Ambassador Ledoux welcomed the cooperation between the EU and TFDP. He noted: “The Philippines will be undergoing their second Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council tomorrow, on May 29. This peer review exercise is of particular importance since it will constitute a follow-up to the recommendations made in 2008, when the Philippines underwent the UPR for the first time. Since then, the Philippine government has made several important efforts, including in its legislative agenda, in improving good and effective governance, and in tackling economic, social and cultural rights through increased work on reducing poverty. Indeed, significant budget increases could recently be noted in the areas of education, health and social security.”

He continued: “On the international level, the Philippine government has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the respect of human rights, especially with last year’s ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and this year’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).”

Ambassador Ledoux noted: “While significant progress has been made in the area of human rights more needs to be done to effectively tackle shortcomings, notably in the area of impunity, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The European Union continues to offer its assistance to both the Philippine government and the civil society in addressing these issues.”

Democracy, the rule of law and human rights are the core values of the European Union. This is reflected in the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), an EU flagship programme for the promotion of human rights. Currently the EU Delegation is managing several projects under the EIDHR, among them the current project with TFDP “Dialogue and Consensus-building for the Monitoring and Prevention of Torture and Violence against Women and Children”.

Media Contact: Thelma Gecolea, Public Affairs Officer, Phone 859 5124

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[From the web] UN Rights Body to Assess Manila’s Record on human rights -blogwatch.tv

 

UN Rights Body to Assess Manila’s Record on human rights

Lack of Accountability for Killings, Torture, Disappearances Should Top Agenda

(Manila, May 21, 2012) – United Nations member countries should call on the Philippine government during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council to honor its commitments to ensure accountability for serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The UPR is scheduled for May 29, 2012 at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The administration of President Benigno Aquino III has failed to take significant measures to prosecute members of the military, police, and militias implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said. The UPR, through which all UN member states are examined once every four years, will allow governments to review the Philippines’ human rights record and propose recommendations. This is the second time the Philippines will undergo the review.

“UN member states should see through the Philippine government’s rhetoric and question the lack of progress on accountability over the past four years,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Universal Periodic Review is an important opportunity to hold the Philippine government to its word.”

Read full article @ blogwatch.tv

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[Press Release] South African Extraordinary Professor and UN official to visit PH for the International Week of the Disappeared -AFAD

South African Extraordinary Professor and UN official to visit PH for the International Week of the Disappeared

Mr. Jeremy Sarkin, Extraordinary Professor of the University of South Africa, former Chairperson-Rapporteur and incumbent member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) will visit the country in his personal capacity as a UN expert on May 29, 2012. He will join the families of the disappeared and other human rights groups in the commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared.

“The families of the victims of enforced disappearance around the world annually observe on the last week of May the International Week of the Disappeared following the Latin American tradition to pay tribute to all desaparecidos,” Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso said.

Bacalso is the Secretary General of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), a regional human rights organization of families of the disappeared and human rights advocates working directly on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in the Asian region.

“We have invited Mr. Sarkin to help us convince the Philippine government to immediately sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to enact the anti-enforced disappearance law without further delay. It is done on the occasion of the International Week of the Disappeared and when the Philippines will be subjected to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.”

The UPR is a special UN mechanism conducted every four years by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which is composed of 47 UN Member-States to scrutinize the human rights records of UN Member-States and propose for recommendations. The Philippines went through the UPR in 2008 and is scheduled for a second cycle in Geneva on May 29, 2012.

“Disappointingly, until now, the Philippines is not yet a signatory much less a State-Party to the Convention despite having cited its signing and ratification as one of its voluntary pledges in the UN Human Rights Council when it ran for membership in 2007, ” she stated.

Bacalso also pointed out that the relatives of the disappeared in the Philippines have been lobbying the Philippine Congress for almost two decades to pass a law defining and penalizing enforced disappearance. The Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives last year approved on third and final reading their own versions of the proposed law. It now awaits the bicameral committee meeting for its consolidation and submission to the President for signing.

“It is about time for the President to make a strong statement on human rights by pursuing the rights violators so that victims can get justice. The anti-disappearance treaty and the anti-enforced disappearance bill are two legal measures which, if acted upon by the government, would serve as concrete steps towards ensuring state accountability and ending impunity for human rights violations,” she said.

Mr. Sarkin will be attending different activities during his visit. The visit of any UN officer in the country is deemed official when invited by governments. The UNWGEID has an outstanding request for an official invitation from the Philippine government. During his visit, Mr. Sarkin will meet with relatives of the victims in the Consultative Dialogue with selected legislators on May 31, 9 a.m. – 12 noon at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. He will then speak before the members of diplomatic corps, government representatives and non-government organizations in the National Human Rights Forum on June 1, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance have requested for an appointment with President Aquino, but to date, Malacanang has not granted it.

“Giving us an audience is a sign of political will of the Philippine Government to end enforced disappearance and to end impunity in the country, ” Bacalso concluded.

Contact Person:

Darwin Mendiola
Landline: 454.6759/490.7862
Mobile: 0915.4689306
Email: afad@surfshop.net.ph

Press Release
International Week of the Disappeared (IWD)

29 May – 02 June 2012

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[Event] Live webcast viewing of the Universal Periodic Review session on May 29, 2012

Dear All,

CHR will sponsor a live webcast viewing of the Universal Periodic Review session on May 29, 2012, at the CHR multi-purpose hall from 2:15 to 8:30pm.

A simultaneous webcast can also be viewed at the United Nations multimedia website

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/c/un-human-rights-council.html

[Announcement] Call for Proposal: Researcher/ Writer -United Nations Millennium Campaign

Subject: Call for Proposal: Researcher/ Writer


Dear UN-CSA and civil society partners,

Thank you very much for your expressions of interest for the Social Equity Round Table initiative of the UN Millennium Campaign. As a first part of the process, a researcher/writer is being sought to conduct an academic review and research on the incidence, breadth and acuteness of social inequality in the Philippines. The research must go beyond exclusively economic (income) measures and encompass political inequalities (lack of voice and representation) and cultural inequalities (discrimination based on ascribed identities).

Interested researcher/writers may wish to access the Terms of Reference found on this link: http://www.undp.org.ph/?link=37&job_id=412 Please note that the deadline for submissions is May 23.

We would appreciate if you could circulate this widely to your networks.

Thanks and regards,

Kimberly Ko
Project Coordinator
United Nations Millennium Campaign
30F Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
1226 Makati City, Philippines
+63 917 575 7793

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[From the web] Human Rights Council UPR to commence 2nd cycle with 13th Working Group session on 21 May to 4 June 2012 -www.ohchr.org

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review to commence second cycle with thirteenth Working Group session to be held from 21 May to 4 June 2012

UPR Working Group to Review Human Rights Records of 14 States

15 May 2012

The thirteenth session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 21 May to 4 June during which the next group of 14 States will have their human rights records examined under this mechanism. With the convening of this session, the UPR will have begun its second cycle of reviews.

The group of States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during this session are (in order of review): Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Philippines, Algeria, Poland, the Netherlands, and South Africa. The meeting will take place in Room XX at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Representatives of the 14 countries will come before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council, to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges. As an integral part of the second cycle of the UPR, States under Review will also spell out the steps they have taken to implement accepted recommendations posed to them during their first review. The reports serving as the basis for these reviews can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx

Speaking on the occasion of the conclusion of the first cycle of the UPR during the last session of the Working Group in October 2011, the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, described the UPR as “unique process”, which provided “a comprehensive map on human rights situations around the globe.” She added that the second cycle would prove to be a “moment of truth” for many.

For her part, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking at the Council’s last session in March this year, said the second cycle “will test the mechanism’s value and credibility.” She called on States “to be impartial, objective and realistic in assessing the human rights situation and putting forward new recommendations”.

During the session, an interactive dialogue between the country under review and the Council will take place in the Working Group. Each country review will last three and one-half hours and an additional half hour will be devoted to the adoption of the Working Group’s report for each country. The review for each State will be facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, or troikas, who will act as rapporteurs. The troikas for the upcoming 13th session were selected through a drawing of lots on 3 May. The list of troikas for the 13th session can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

The final outcome of the session will be adopted by the plenary of the Council at its twenty-first regular session taking place in September 2012.

About the Universal Periodic Review

General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, which created the Human Rights Council, mandated the Council to “undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies.”

Subsequently, the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was established through the adoption by the Council of its “institution-building package” – HRC resolution 5/1 – on 18 June 2007, one year after its first meeting. Among the elements of this package was the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which aims to ensure that all United Nations Member States, starting with the members of the Council, have their records examined in order to improve human rights conditions worldwide. Furthermore, the Council decided that these reviews would be conducted on one working group composed of the 47 members of the Council.

The UPR Working Group consequently held its inaugural session in April 2008 for the first group of States, the order for which was decided through the drawing of lots. With the holding of this first session the first cycle took off through which all 193 United Nations Member States have had their human rights records reviewed over a four-year period; this includes South Sudan which became a Member State during the course of the first cycle.

Per Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 adopted on 25 March 2011 and decision 17/119 pertaining to the review of the Council, the second and subsequent cycles of the UPR should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review. This resolution and decision also established that the periodicity of the review for the second and subsequent cycles will be four and a half years, instead of four, and thus 42 States would be reviewed per year during three sessions of the UPR Working Group. Moreover, the order of reviews established for the first cycle was to be maintained. The calendar of State reviews for the second cycle can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

UPR Reporting and Objectives

In accordance with the Council’s “institution-building package”, and as reinforced by the outcome of the Council’s review adopted last March, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document.

Per the adopted institution-building package, the objectives of the Universal Periodic Review are: the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground; fulfilment of the State’s human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges faced by the State; the enhancement of the State’s capacity and of technical assistance, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned; the sharing of best practice among States and other stakeholders; support for cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights; and, the encouragement of full cooperation and engagement with the Council, other human rights bodies and OHCHR.

Provisional Timetable for the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 13th Session:

Monday, 21 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Bahrain
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Ecuador

Tuesday, 22 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Tunisia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Morocco

Wednesday, 23 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Indonesia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Finland

Thursday, 24 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of United Kingdom
14h30 – 18h00 Review of India

Friday, 25 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Brazil
15h00 – 18h00 Adoption of reports on Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Finland

Tuesday, 29 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Philippines
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Algeria

Wednesday, 30 May

10h00 – 11h30 Adoption of reports on United Kingdom, India and Brazil
14h00 – 18h00 Review of Poland

Thursday, 31 May

09h00 – 12h30 Review of the Netherlands
14h30 – 18h00 Review of South Africa

Friday, 1 June

15h00 – 16h30 Adoption of reports on Philippines, Algeria and Poland

Monday, 4 June

15h00 – 16h00 Adoption of reports on the Netherlands and South Africa

Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, including the reports for each country review can be located at the Universal Periodic Review webpage on the OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

Media contact: Rolando Gomez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
For use of the information media; not an official record

Source: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12157&LangID=E

[Press Release] Human Rights Report of the Philippines to the UN lacks measurable results -Action Network Human Rights-Philippines

Human Rights Report of the Philippines to the UN lacks measurable results

On 29 May 2012, the Philippines will be reviewed as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council on the implementation of its human rights obligations.

The Philippine government receives in advance the opportunity to explain in a government report, what measures it has taken to improve the human rights situation in the country and to fulfill its international human rights obligations.

“The recently submitted report lacks the transparent and objective evaluation of concrete and measurable steps taken by the Philippine government to improve the human rights record in the country in a sustainable manner” says Maike Grabowski, coordinator of the German-based Action Network Human Rights-Philippines (“Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte-Philippinen” – AMP).

As an example, the Philippines government points to the establishment of human rights offices within the military and its decades-long integration of human rights education in training institutions as indicators of improving the human rights situation. However, the government and the military have not truthfully evaluated such steps in the face of increased human rights violations, particularly politically motivated killings and enforced disappearances in the same periods.

In fact, civil society observed weak implementation of command responsibility that led to the impunity of the above mentioned violations.
Further, the Philippine report states that the government cooperates closely with national civil society organizations. Many of our civil society partners in the Philippines do not accept this vague generalized term of engagement with government,” criticizes Grabowski.

The national human rights organization, Philippine Alliance for Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) has pointed out, for instance, that consultations with civil society prior to the drafting of the National Report and the National Action Plan for Human Rights were wanting in planning, thoroughness in discussions and formulations of unities and differences in views.

“The institutional and legislative progress mentioned in the National Report is to be welcomed, however, the real benchmark for the improvement of the human rights situation and the sincerity of the current government must be the professional investigation of human rights violations with due diligence and the indictment and conviction of the perpetrators and their string pullers staying in the back,” demands Michael Schirmer, chair of the German human rights alliance on the Philippines. Impunity is still one of the main reasons for continued human rights abuses in the Philippines.

The eight member organizations of the AMP are therefore calling on Member States of the United Nations to analyze the national report of the Philippines critically and ask the Philippine delegation during the interactive dialogue of the UPR to set concrete and measurable steps to enable an effective impact assessment of the Philippine human rights policy. This is the only way for the Philippine government to prove its proclaimed change in policy on the issue of human rights.

For more information on the UPR, as well as potential questions and recommendations to the Philippine government please contact:
Maike Grabowski, Action Network Human Rights-Philippines
grabowski@asienhaus.de, +49201-8303828
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Action Network Human Rights-Philippines
Press Release

May 16, 2012

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[Event] Forum on the Joint Civil Society Report for the 2nd cycle of the UPR 13th Session

April 20, 2012

Dear fellow human rights defender,

The Philippines, among other States Parties, will be the focus of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 13th session from May 21-June 4, 2012 by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. The UPR is a process which provides “the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have done to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.”

The Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Institute of Human Rights (IHR), University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center, in coordination with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) would like to invite you or your representative to participate in a public presentation forum on the Joint Civil Society Report for the 2nd cycle of the UPR 13th Session. This forum is set to be held on May 18, 2012 (Friday) at 2nd Floor, Bocobo Hall, UP Law Center, Diliman, Quezon City from 1:00 to 4:30PM.

While at this, one of the priority issues in the Joint Civil Society Report is the campaign against torture in the Philippines. Thus there will be a presentation of the research output by the UP IHR on the Confidential Inquiry Procedure of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The forum is designed to inform the stakeholders about the highlights of the Joint Civil Society Report for the UPR and its significance in improving the human rights situation in the country. Likewise, the forum aims to educate the human rights community as well as other stakeholders in the complaint procedure provided for in the Article 20 of the Convention against Torture as a tool for combating torture in the country.

Should you have any inquiry, please call the MAG office at 433-15-94 or 441-10-73 and look for Jerbert M. Briola.

We look forward to your favorable response. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Yours sincerely,

Edeliza P. Hernandez, RN
Executive Director
Medical Action Group

 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.

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