The Joint Philippines-United Nations (UN) Human Rights Program took its first major milestone today at the Steering Committee meeting of government and civil society partners and participating UN agencies, where they agreed on a roadmap to implement the resolution of the Human Rights Council (HRC). 45/33, adopted October 7, 2020, which outlines specific areas for capacity building and technical cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.
Today’s Steering Committee meeting was attended by Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Menardo Guevarra, United Nations Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez and representatives of the government, the United Nations and civil society partners.
Guevarra said: “The joint program aims to affirm the Philippines’ commitment to the primacy of human rights, the importance of a free democratic space for civil society and the principle of international cooperation – key values which are dear to the Philippines as a founding country. founding member of the United Nations. “
United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, said: “Today’s meeting is an important step in the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 45/33. Concrete actions, milestones and tools were discussed and adopted. Everyone has a role to play in the common agenda. and is responsible for the expected results.
The joint human rights program recently received a boost with the combined financial support of the Norwegian and Australian governments of around 29 million pesos.
“I thank the Australian and Norwegian governments for their willingness to support the joint program. They know that respect for human rights is an essential component of sustainable and inclusive development, ”said Gonzalez.
“Australia is committed to seeing this program succeed and deliver tangible results. We commend the government of the Philippines for its efforts, ”said Ambassador Steven Robinson of the Australian Embassy.
On July 22, the Philippines and the UN signed the Joint United Nations Program on Human Rights. The United Nations three-year joint program was developed to implement Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 45/33, adopted on October 7, 2020, which defined specific areas for capacity building and technical cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. The joint program document was signed by Secretary Guevarra, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Gonzalez, in the presence of the late José Luis Gascon of the Human Rights Commission.
In addition to the DoJ, the joint United Nations program is jointly implemented by the Secretariat of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRCS), the Department of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Department of Health (DOH), Counter Terrorism Council-Program Management Center (ATC-PMC), Bureau of Prison Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Human Rights Commission (CHR). Civil society organizations (CSOs) as well as academia will also be essential partners in the implementation of the program.
United Nations entities involved in the program – the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Office against Terrorism (UNOCT); and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – will work with the government, drawing on expertise and best practices to apply human rights-based approaches in these areas.
Gonzalez said, “The Joint United Nations Program on Human Rights brings together different actors to find solutions to complex challenges. It is not always an easy task, but these challenges cannot be solved by training and expertise alone. Solving them takes leadership and courage.
“This joint program forges a lasting partnership for the advancement of the principles declared in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article III of the 1987 Constitution – the Philippines’ own Bill of Rights,” said Guevarra. .
Under the joint program, the United Nations in the Philippines will engage in capacity building and technical cooperation in six areas, namely, strengthening national investigative and accountability mechanisms; collection of data on alleged police violations; civic space and engagement with civil society and the CHR; national reporting and monitoring mechanism; anti-terrorism legislation; and human rights-based approaches to drug control.