Philippines reaffirms human rights resolve

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Philippines reaffirms human rights resolve
Carlos Sorreta
Twitter / Philippine Mission to the UN

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has reaffirmed its resolve to continue efforts to strengthen domestic human rights mechanisms.

Technical assistance and capacity building have a high potential to catalyze transformative change that advances rights causes, Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said on April 3 at the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council’s general debate on technical assistance and capacity building.

Sorreta renewed the Philippine government’s resolve, building on the gains of the UN Joint Program (UNJP) on human rights in the Philippines.

“It is so when done right, that is, when states are given the driver’s seat in capacity-building initiatives and programs are responsive to national priorities and needs. We say this with the benefit of insights gained from our three-year joint program with the UN on human rights (or the UNJP),” he said.

In 2021, the Philippines and the UN launched the joint program that facilitated technical cooperation and capacity building in support of national initiatives and institutional frameworks in six areas: domestic investigation and accountability mechanisms, data gathering on alleged police violations, national mechanism for monitoring and follow-up, civic space and engagement with civil society, drug control and counterterrorism.

The UNJP will conclude in July 2024, accomplishing its objectives of bolstering domestic human rights policies, programs and institutions.

“As the UNJP draws to an end, we take ownership, with re-invigorated domestic institutions to better address complex governance issues, we take ownership with human rights, justice and accountability principles well embedded in programs and strategies and the mindset of government frontliners,” the Philippines’ envoy to the UN in Geneva said.

The UNJP was managed through a multi-stakeholder steering committee, led by the Department of Justice and the UN resident coordinator, bringing together various agencies, the Commission on Human Rights, UN agencies, civil society organizations and representatives of donor countries.

These countries provided funding to the UNJP Multi-Partner Trust Fund under the stewardship of the UN country team: Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The Philippine government provided $200,000 in addition to the budgetary resources allocated by relevant national agencies for specific projects under the UNJP.

“We will establish a human rights coordinating council to sustain and broaden what we had achieved under the UNJP. As we forge ahead, we will continue to work with our international partners bilaterally, as we had done even before the UNJP, in order to maximize resources and ensure efficiency,” Sorreta said.

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