Philippine Alliance of
Human Rights Advocates

uphold, assert and defend all human rights for all!

Open Letters

RE: Enacting Domestic Law on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in the Philippines

Dear Honourable Chairperson Deloso-Montalla,

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) writes this Open Letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines to emphasise the importance of enacting provisions to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) under the domestic legal framework.

Providing protection to HRDs under the national legal framework is necessary to protect those that are targeted for their legitimate human rights work. From January 2017 to July 2018, FORUM-ASIA documented 40 emblematic cases of attacks, intimidation and harassment against defenders in the Philippines. Among these cases, 18 were killings of HRDs – mostly journalists, and land and environmental rights defenders.[1] Perpetrators are often not brought to account, and impunity of security forces is prevailing in the country.

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Open Letter to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and All Duty-Bearers

The people has chosen you as the new primary duty-bearers of the State's obligations to respect, protect and fulfill all human rights of all its constituencies who have been short-changed or failed by the past administrations since the uprising in EDSA against the dictatorship of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Headed by Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the national Chief Executive and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, together with the local executives and the national and local legislators, either newly elected or re-elected, are the duty bearers of human rights.

Everyone of you, chosen candidates, will have been sworn in as Duty-bearers by June 30, 2016 to uphold the Philippine Constitution. Among others this solemn oath include provisions pertaining explicitly to human rights, such as Article II: The Declaration of Principles and State’s Policies, and Article III: The Bill of Rights. Obligations to human rights became more explicit when the country signed and ratified international human rights treaties, among others, the United Nations International Bill of Rights (UN IBR) including the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights (which abolishes the death penalty), the UN Convention Against Torture (UN CAT), UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), UN Convention on International Humanitarian Law including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

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