Rights groups to again present to UNHRC the continuing human rights violations in the Philippines

On the 16th Session of UN Human Rights Council

The Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice), an ecumenical delegation of Philippine human rights organizations and advocates for the defense and promotion of human rights in the country, will again send a delegation to the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, to present the continuing human rights violations in the Philippines and to prepare for the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines on 2012. The Ecumenical Voice delegation will engage the UNHRC about continuing human rights violations under the Aquino administration, in its first nine months in office, and  gather support from the international human rights community to act on the continuing impunity and rights violations in the country.

The Ecumenical Voice delegation, which will be in Geneva from March 5 to 15, 2011, is composed of: Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente or IFI) and the Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao ; Marie Hilao-Enriquez of KARAPATAN, Cristina Palabay of Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women-Association of Women Human Rights Defenders); Atty. Rey Cortez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers; Girlie Padilla of the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace; and Rhonda Ramiro of the San Francisco Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines.

One of the Morong 43 health workers illegally arrested and detained in February last year, Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, will also join the delegation to file a complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture. She will also give an oral intervention about her ordeal before the Rights Council. In June last year, her husband Jigs Clamor of Karapatan, also appealed to the Council in its 14th Session.

The delegation shall also bring to the attention of the council the continuing spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, specially the killing of botanist Leonard Co and his companions. The human rights alliance Karapatan has documented 40 victims of extrajudicial killings since Aquino took office.

“The continuing violations of the rights of the Filipino people by state agents is a reason for us to be alarmed,” Enriquez stated. “Until now, many of the recommendations of former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Prof. Philip Alston have not and are not being implemented, and impunity still prevails in the country.”

Enriquez also added that they will bring the cases of threats and attacks against human rights defenders, internally displaced persons, victims of arbitrary detention to the Council among others.   The UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.  The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

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