The Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines, a delegation of human rights and church groups, would deliver oral interventions before the UNHRC and meet with Geneva-based state missions and UN mandate holders and international non-government organizations.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — A network of human rights defenders brought before the United Nations Human Rights Council more cases of human rights violations in the country.
“The group aims to raise before the Council the pressing human rights concerns in the Philippines, including the continuing detention and injustice against Andrea Rosal and all political prisoners, bombings and forced evacuation due to military operations of indigenous communities especially in the Mindanao region, attacks on lawyers and other human rights defenders, and the Aquino administration’s incompetence in addressing the needs of typhoon Yolanda victims, among so many others,” the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines said in a statement.
The delegation is composed of the following: Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan; Lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL); Rev. Irma Balaba, assistant programme secretary of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations programme of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines; Sister Stella Matutina of Panalipdan Mindanao; and Dr. Angie Gonzales, Atty. Kristerie Baleva and Julie Palaganas of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
They are to deliver oral interventions and meet with Geneva-based state missions and UN mandate holders and international non-government organizations. The delegation would also follow-up on the status of the complaints filed before the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including those filed by Mrs. Edith Burgos before the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID) and by Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas before the UN Committee against Torture.
The 26th United Nations Human Rights Council would be held in Geneva, Switzerland from June 10 to 17, 2014.
The delegation is set to meet Prof. Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Ms. Gabriela Knaul, UN special rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers, and Ms. Virginia Dandan, UN special rapporteur on international solidarity and human rights.
Ecuvoice also welcomed the information conveyed by two United Nations special rapporteurs on their official visits to the Philippines to conduct independent investigations on the human rights situation in the country. UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Dr. Chaloka Beyani is set to visit this year, while UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul has recently submitted her request to visit the country.
“Peasant communities and indigenous tribes are driven away from their homes by extractive operations, tourism, and infrastructure projects such as dams. The plight of poverty-stricken indigenous communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and many other parts of Mindanao is exacerbated as big foreign and domestic mining companies encroach on their lands and ancestral domains,” Palabay said.
The delegation is a follow-up engagement to the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in 2012 and the review of the Philippine government’s compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international human rights instruments.