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.#.
Greetings from the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) .
PAHRA members together with networks and individual volunteers who were in the forefront of the struggle against Martial Law initiated a loose consortium to conduct an active search of undocumented human rights violations victims under the Martial Law regime.
This is in line with the implementation of “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013″ and its implementing rules and regulations to ensure that more victims will have the chance to claim for a long due recognition and reparation from their struggles and martyrdom. Unfortunately, the law and it’s IRR did not include active search for thousand more victims that were not properly recorder or documented during the incidence of violations.martial law active search
On Valentine’s Day , Feb. 14, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered an immediate execution of a Preventive Suspension of CHR Commissioner Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing without pay for the period of six (6) months pending investigation of cases filed against her. According to the Ombudsman, preventive suspension can be meted if the evidence of guilt is strong and that the charges involved oppression and grave misconduct which may eventually warrant removal from office. The order shall not be un interrupted within the prescribed period notwithstanding appeal, motion of petition that may be filed by Com. Quisumbing.
The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating Com. Quisumbing for administrative and criminal cases which stemmed from a formal complaint filed by Ms. Regina Eugenio last September 24, 2013 against her former employer Com. Quisumbing ( OMB-C-A 13 -0334 : Violation of RA 6713 Sec. 7(d) or Solicitation or Acceptance of Gifts ) and Criminal case (OMB-C-C- 13-0354: Violation of RPC 210- Direct Bribery, RA 3019 Sec 3(b), 3(c), 3 (e) 6713 Sec. 7(d) ) and RA 6713 Sec. 7(d) . The complaints were corroborated by three (3) other former co-personnel of Ms. Eugenio. Com. Coco Preventive Suspension.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) welcomes the long-delayed Presidential announcement of the newly appointed members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, the formation of which was mandated in Republic Act 10368 - An Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime, Documentation of Said Violations, Appropriating Funds Therefore and For Other Purposes.
With due respect to President Benigno S. Aquino’s prerogative to appoint the composition of the Claims’ Board, PAHRA would like to point out that President Aquino has overlooked two aspects. One is the vital qualification in appointing the members of the Board, much more to be sought of the Chairperson, as cited in RA 10368, Chapter II, Section 8, that each of the members, among others:Claims Board statement.