12 October 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), with due respect to the new Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Jose Luis Gascon, strongly disagrees with his simplified comprehensive summarized assessment of the present human rights situation as found in the Sunday Inquirer, page A5, October 15, 2015 issue. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/729447/chr-laments-surge-in-extrajudicial-killings-abuses
According to Chair Gascon, “cases of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrest continued to increase, even if incidences of human rights violations [HRVs] had gone down compared to the days of martial law.” “While overall, cases have dwindled,” he further explained, ”the fact that there are sharp increases in enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture is a matter of concern.”
Human rights cover civil, political rights (CPR), as well as economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR). Civil-political rights are certainly not only extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture. CPR include not only elections and the rule of law, but also, among others, the freedom of religion, of expression, of assembly and of movement. Human rights violations include all violations of the same rights. Such “incidences” and “cases” of violations from post-martial law times till the present certainly have neither gone down nor are they dwindling. In fact, all are increasing, more so in the violations against ESC rights, despite of or, even perhaps, because of the democratic space we have gained since toppling the Marcos dictatorship.PAHRA Rejoinder on CHR Statement
September 23, 2015
More than nine months for the Aquino administration term end, his administration will be remembered for lost ground on important measures of breaking impunity which is the entrenched legacy of martial law, said the Medical Action Group Inc. (MAG), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) on the 43rd commemoration of Martial Law.
The harassments and killings of human rights defenders are on the rise in the country. Based on the documentation by the MAG and TFDP under its “Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Protection project”, since September 2013, there are 34 cases of harassment, intimidation and extra judicial killings committed to HRDs. Most of them are resisting land grabbing, mining and other development aggression projects.
“These incidents are part of a growing pattern of criminalization of human rights work and alleged human rights violations committed against human rights defenders in the country that must be broken before it escalates beyond control,” Edeliza P. Hernandez, MAG Executive Director said.HRD Protection Press release
NOTE: PAHRA and PHILIRIGHTS are among the petitioners for the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the Major Carbons corporations for human rights abuses.
Press release - 22 September, 2015
The complaint, which is the first of its kind in the world, is being brought forward by typhoon survivors, advocates and non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace Southeast Asia. The group is demanding an investigation into the top 50 investor-owned fossil fuel companies and their responsibility for climate impacts that endanger people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as that of future generations.
“We demand justice. Climate change has taken our homes and our loved ones. These powerful corporations must be called to account for the impact of their business activities,” said Elma Reyes from Alabat Island in Quezon who survived Super Typhoon Rammasun, and is part of the groupsubmitting the complaint to the CHR.
The 50 companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, are a subset of the 90 legal entities that have contributed the lion's share of cumulative global CO2 and methane emissions in the earth’s atmosphere, Climate change petition to CHR
PAHRA STATEMENT FOR SONA 2015
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) acknowledge and appreciate the passage of human rights laws in the civil and political arenas, among others, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Torture Law, the law on Compensation of Human Rights Victims during Martial Law, the law on Anti-Enforced Disappearance, law on the International Humanitarian Law, since Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s became Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief as steps in the right direction to break through impunity and well within his pronouncement that human rights would be central to his governance.
But such initial steps did not make any significant dent into the prevailing culture of impunity, much less to sufficiently limit its influence in the different branches of government. In fact, the consequent and concomitant actions not only stymied the gain obtained in making some of its human rights obligations into laws but even deepened as well as broadened the environment and ground for impunity in civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. One of the main factors for this impunity is the unchecked networks of command conspiracy.PAHRA SONA 2015.
June 19, 2015
HAVE A FIRM GRASP AND SHARP ANALYSIS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY.
This will serve as solid bases for the 5th CHR to map out your plan for the whole of your term as well as for your annual planning. There will always be a need for flexibility for unexpected incidents of human rights concerns that demand immediate responses.
This first challenge includes a comprehensive assessment of what has been done by the 4th Commission and learn from lessons both positive and negative. Such action would be a precedent that should be made a tradition along with other duty-bearers reporting to their claimholders.
Broad, participative and transparent consultations are key to obtain to true and reliable information and data.
REVIEW AND STRENGTHEN OUR NHRI’S STRUCTURES, BOTH ON THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS FOR MORE APPROPRIATE, TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE RESPONSES TO SITUATIONS OF HR CONCERNS.
This is to finally overcome “bureaucratic inertia”, as well as eradicate the culture of patronage and retribution now embedded within the relationships between officers and the rank and file, and even between regular and co-terminus employees.
As 5th Commission you are inheriting an institutional legacy of the 4th Commission marked with a relatively widespread demoralization and discontent among personnel brought about by the unprecedented protest of more than a hundred officers and staff against a promotion of a person with questionable eligibility and done with “indecent haste”.
As the new Commission you have to resolve the issue of the Executive Director and his consequent actions objectively and with fairness to all. Doing so otherwise may affect the integrity and credibility of both the 5th Commission and the CHRP as institution.
There is need to revitalize the prime institution of human rights with appropriately-capacitated and committed personnel adhering above all to accepted HR principles and standards. Promotion should be based on merit and dedication to the promotion and protection of human rights.
INSTITUTIONALIZE CHRP-CSO RELATIONSHIP CHR 5th Com Challenges.