Marcos orders creation of 'super body' to champion human rights in PH

Marcos orders creation of 'super body' to champion human rights in PH
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PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has ordered the creation of a “super body” to ensure that government agencies adhere to his administration’s campaign to protect human rights in the country.

Signed by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on behalf of Marcos on May 8, Administrative Order No. 22 aims to enhance the mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines through the establishment of a “Special Committee on Human Rights.”

The committee will be chaired by the executive secretary and co-chaired by the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretaries as members.

Among the roles of the committee are conducting investigations and ensuring accountability; gathering data on alleged human rights violations by law enforcement agencies; expanding civic space and engagement with the private sector; establishing National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting, and Follow-up; and adopting a human rights-based approach towards drug control and counter-terrorism.

It is also tasked to “monitor and ensure effective implementation of government policies and programs aimed at upholding and protecting human rights of persons deprived of liberty, particularly in guaranteeing that no one is subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of punishment.”

National government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, and local government units and the private sector are directed and urged, respectively, to render full support and assistance to the implementation of AO 22.

Marcos earlier raised the significance of maintaining and intensifying the accomplishments of the United Nations for the Joint Program on Human Rights (UNJP) through the institutionalization of a strong and healthy multi-stakeholder process for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The UNJP is set to expire on July 31.

The Philippines partnered with the UNJP to engage in capacity-building and technical cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice, and policy-making in the Philippines.

The Philippines is a State Party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which triggered the creation of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) in order to comply with its obligations. 

The PHRC is also tasked to formulate a National Human Rights Action Plan. It will also take part as the secretariat in the special committee for the provision of necessary technical, administrative, and operational support. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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