Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

The creation of a Special Committee on Human Rights under Administrative Order No. 22 is welcome, however this initiative of President Marcos Jr. must be complemented by the immediate ratification of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and the presidential certification on the urgency of the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act.

Moreover, there must be full and strict implementation of the triumvirate of human rights statutes, namely the Anti-Torture Act, the Criminalization of Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Act and the Reparation and Recognition of Human Rights Violations Victims Act. 

While the Philippines is a state party to eight human rights conventions, it has yet to join 71 States which have ratified the Convention.

The Human Rights Defenders Protection Act (HRD) had been passed twice on third and final reading in the House of Representatives during the 17th and 18thCongresses but was not acted upon by the Senate due to time constraints. It is again pending in the House. 

The HRD bill defends human rights defenders from harassment, prosecution, and even death at the hands of State agents and their private cohorts. It is largely based on the Model Law for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders developed by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR).

The bill defines an HRD as “any person, who individually or in association with others, acts or seeks to act to protect, promote, or strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, at the local, national, regional, and international levels.” 

It is also suggested that the special committee should include representatives from civil society who have vast experience in human rights advocacy.