PAHRA STATEMENT, July 28, 2014 on the Day of the
State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President
After four years as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), President Benigno S. Aquino III has no National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). And it has been said that he sees no need for one. He has justified such a stance that each department and agency under the Executive would make its own Human Rights Plan. As part of the Office of the President (OP), the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) predictably echoed this sentiments and position.
The Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), when pressed by civil society during a public forum, to remind the President of the State Obligation to put together a NHRAP, she firmly said, “I will not pursue it. You do it yourself, if you like.” Risking its independence, the CHRP too has been made to take the stance and attitude of the President.PAHRA statement SONA 2014
We, the landless farmers and farmworkers in Mindanao, bonded under the banner of the Alliance of Land Rights Movement in Mindanao (ALARM-Mindanao), are hereby laying down our stand on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and our urgent call to Pres. Benigno Aquino III, as follows:
1. To decisively order the Department of Agrarian Reform for the immediate issuance of Notices of Coverage (NOCs) to big agricultural landholdings in Mindanao owned by Influential landlords before June 30, 2014, as follows:
Paris, 4 June 2014 - Twenty-five years since the violent military crackdown against the peaceful student protest in Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989, the victims of the massacre and their families are still deprived of truth, justice, and reparation, as no one has been held accountable. Those who speak out today against this impunity are also targeted by the state, often losing their jobs, their freedom, and even their lives. The Chinese government’s ongoing militarization of Tibet also shows that there has been no fundamental change in the way the authorities respond to peaceful protests and demands for reform by citizens since 1989 when martial law was imposed in Lhasa for over a year. FIDH and its member organization International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) denounce this increasing repression of human rights defenders by the government of China.
“Our organizations stand in solidarity with the relatives of the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown who continue to demand truth, justice and reparation, undeterred by a quarter century of state silence and reprisals,” declared Rosemarie Trajano, Vice President of FIDH. “FIDH will continue to advocate on their behalf and on behalf of every peaceful human rights defender imprisoned or silenced for speaking out against injustice.”
It is also the responsibility of the international community to push the Chinese authorities to respect international human rights norms. In response to the violence of June 4th 1989, the European Union imposed an arms embargo on China that remains in place today, despite the objections of the Chinese government. It is essential that any debate on a possible lifting of the embargo is preceded by verifiable steps by the Chinese government toward human rights improvements in mainland China and Tibet. To lift the embargo without such changes in Chinese policy and practice would dishonor the memory of the victims of the Tienanmen massacre and all those who continue to suffer repression in China and Tibet.
We call on the Chinese authorities to free all prisoners of conscience immediately, and to allow all Chinese and Tibetan citizens to enjoy the freedom of expression and assembly that they have been denied for far too long.
QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES-- Civil society groups in the Philippines are urging the Philippine government to support a resolution filed by a group of countries led by Ecuador in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for a legally binding treaty on human rights and transnational corporations.
In a letter addressed to Secretary Alberto Del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Ambassador Cecilia B. Rebong of the Philippine Permanent Mission in Geneva, the groups asked the government to “once again demonstrate leadership and commitment to human rights at the June 2014 UN Human Rights Council session by showing your support for a resolution that will seek to begin a process of developing an international treaty on business and human rights – the first binding international legal instrument to hold corporations accountable for their human rights violations.”
The groups recalled the support by the Philippines in 2011 as a member of the UNHCR for the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework" proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie.
The groups acknowledged the importance of the guiding principles also know as the ‘Ruggie Framework’ as it “affirmed the obligation and primary responsibility of the State to protect and promote human rights and recognized that corporations have the responsibility as well to respect human rights” but stressed the need at this time “to hold corporations accountable not only in the countries where they cause or contribute to violations, but also in other countries and internationally if required.”
They urged the Philippines to join the broad range of States who have already shown their support for progressing international law to address corporate human rights abuses, as shown during the September 2013 session of the Human Rights Council. Furthermore, they also asked that the Philippine government to “stand on the side of human rights against corporate human rights violations, and the associated impunity that is all too often to these abuses.”
The groups earlier met with Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales to get the support of Commission for their demands for both international and national level mechanisms to exact greater corporate accountability in light of specific cases of human rights violations particular in the extractive industry and mining sector. They are pushing for a dialogue with the DFA prior to the departure of the Philippine delegation to the upcoming UNHCR Session in June in Geneva.#