By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/26-May-12) – The 8 member-organizations of the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte-Philippinen (AMP), on May 16, this year, called on member- states of the United Nations to analyze critically the human rights report of the Philippines, and want to ask the Philippine delegation, during the coming interactive dialogue of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), to set concrete and measurable steps to enable an effective impact assessment of the Philippine human rights policy.
On 29 May 2012, the Philippines will be reviewed as part of the UPR before the UN Human Rights Council on the implementation of its human rights obligations.
“This is the only way for the Philippine government to prove its proclaimed change in policy on the issue of human rights, said Maike Grabowsk, coordinator of Action Network Human Rights- Philippines (Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte-Philippinen- AMP, in German).
AMP is based in Germany, at Philippinenburo e.V., Asienhaus, Bullmannaue, and member of Amnesty International. The German-based human rights group has been closely monitoring the human rights situation in the Philippines over its on-going internal conflict.
AMP said, in an emailed statement to this correspondent, that the Philippine government has received in advance the opportunity to explain in its government report, what measures it has taken to improve the human rights situation in the country, and to fulfill its international human rights obligations.
“The recently submitted (Philippine) report lacks the transparent and objective evaluation of concrete and measurable steps taken by the Philippine government to improve the human rights record in the country in a sustainable manner” said Grabowski.
International human rights groups were reported as doubtful regarding the Philippine government’s human rights policy in view of its weaknesses in enforcing observance of human rights and their violations by military units in areas where there are internal conflicts.
As an example, the Philippines government points to the establishment of human rights offices within the military, and its decades-long integration of human rights education in training institutions as indicators of improving the human rights situation, said AMP.
“However, the government and the military have not truthfully evaluated such steps in the face of increased human rights violations, particularly politically motivated killings and enforced disappearances in the same periods,” said AMP in the statement.
“In fact, civil society observed weak implementation of command responsibility that led to the impunity of the above mentioned violations,” said Grabowski in the statement.
“Further, the Philippine report states that the government cooperates closely with national civil society organizations. Many of our civil society partners in the Philippines do not accept this vague generalized term of engagement with government,” Grabowski said.
The national human rights organization, Philippine Alliance for Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) has pointed out, for instance, that consultations with civil society prior to the drafting of the National Report and the National Action Plan for Human Rights were wanting in planning, thoroughness in discussions and formulations of unities and differences in views, said in the statement.
Michael Schirmer, chair of the German human rights alliance on the Philippines, also said in the statement: “The institutional and legislative progress mentioned in the National Report is to be welcomed, however, the real benchmark for the improvement of the human rights situation and the sincerity of the current government must be the professional investigation of human rights violations with due diligence, and the indictment and conviction of the perpetrators, and their string- pullers staying in the back.”
The German organization pointed to feeling of “impunity” among human rights violators as one of the main reasons for continued human rights abuses in the Philippines. [BicolToday.com]
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