lundi 14 avril 2008

UPR- Philippines-

11/04/2008 - Afternoon session

  • The Philippine Commitment to Human Rights. Report on the Philippines presented by Hon. Eduardo R. ERMITA, Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Committee.
  • National Report. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1 + A/HRC/WG.6/PHL/1/Corr.1
  • Compilation prepared by the OHCHR. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/2
  • Summary prepared by the OHCHR. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/3

Presentation made by Hon. Eduardo R. ERMITA:
The Philippine National Report focuses on several sectors such as children, women, indeginous peoples, poverty, security concerns, human rights education...

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Philippines are 1 of the largest migrant sending countries around the globe. Estimation: 10% of its population is abroad. The Government has created the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration to protect the OFWs and their families by providing a wide range of comprehensive services and programs.
The Philippine Government has concluded several Social Security Bilateral Agreements with a number of countries, that aim to protect the OFWs. 

'Long tradition of women's participatory inclusion and empowerment' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §66, p. 9)
Rising percentage of women going abroad to find a job. 
Issue of violence against women, and women's health services : improvement, however, the Philippines 'needs to enact a comprehensive legal framework that will integrate CEDAW in the national legal system through the passage of the Magna Carte of Women bill' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §79, p. 10).
Problem of equality: often, women have a lower wage and insecure jobs. In the informal economy, their presence is dominant.

To strengthen their protection = great priority
Adoption of the National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children. Aim: to build a child-sensitive and child-friendly society.
Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006:
'Prohibits cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment
Introduces restorative justice
Provides for diversion programs for children in conflict with the law
Prohibits detention of youth offenders aged 15 years old and below in jails' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, § 156, p. 20)

-Indigenous people
Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, 1997: provide the opportunity for indigenous people to exercise self-governance and to participate in determining economic development.
Respect of the tradiotnal institutions.

-Muslim community (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §20, p. 4)
Recognition of the Shari'a justice system based on Islamic religious law. 
Criminality continues to remain within the purview of the Revised Penal Code and other laws and not the Shari'a justice system.

-Lack of human and financial ressources

Civil and Political Rights

-In 1987, the Philippine Constitution created an independent commission on human rights = Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, a 'vigilant and vocal guardian of human rights including civil and political rights, holding public hearings, conducting investigations and issuing advisories on specific cases and national issues such as the protection of human rights even during a state of national emergency' (A/HRC/WG.6/+/PHL/1, §101, p.13).

-In 2006: Abolition of death penalty

-Human Rights Education: Improvement
HR offices have been established in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as in the Philippine National Police and, finally in the National Bureau of Investigation.
The Department of Education has incorporated basic HR Education in the elementary and secondary schools. 

-Corruption = serious concern
The Philippine Constitution created the Office of the Ombudsman, an 'independent body to protect the people from governmental corruption and abuse with its prosecutorial and investigative powers' (The Philippine Commitment to Human Rights, p. 2). Concrete and practical measures to counter corruption are being implemented

-Issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Main issue: impunity of the perpetrators. The Philippine government has 'taken firm measures to address' these problems, and give the priority in the prevention of such killings.
Extrajudicial killings decrease in 2007.
Creation of an Interagency Task Force Against Political Violence: mandated to investigate, prosecute and punish all political violence.
Writ of Amparo: new rules to enhance HR protection.

-Issue of terrorism
Human Security Act of 2007
2 active insurgencies: 
Communist rebels
Secessionist movement in the Southern part of the country

The Constitution prohibits the use of torture (ratification of the Convention against Torture) but no ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture.
Ratification of the Protocol I of the Geneva Convetions of 1949 = ongoing process.

After the presentation, many states took the floor and asked several questions, particularly on the issues of migration, rights of women, children, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances...

The United Kingdom stresses on the fact that the Philippines are not a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (as well as to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court as the Summary prepared by the OHCHR noticed it). It has expressed its doubts about the measures taken against corruption. There exists another problem: the slowness of the implementation of treaties.

The Netherlands recommended to criminalize torture, and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

Italy asked if the Government will integrate the CEDAW nationally.

Other countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India or the Holy See were interested about the situation of migrant workers. Most of them asked how does the Government manage to protect its citizens abroad. Furthermore, questions were the positive (remittances...) and the negative effect (brain drain, social problem...) of migration.

Singapore recognized that the Philippines have a leading position in emphasizing the role of women. Pakistan noticed that the Government has made some efforts to fight against violence against women.

China too admitted that the Philippines have succeeded to reduce extreme poverty, to improve health services, guaranteed women's rights, as well as rights of workers... The Philippines have still to face some challenges, however the situation is getting better. 


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