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PHL, UN activate joint program on human rights

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THE Philippine government and the United Nations have formally launched the UN Joint Program (UNJP): Technical Cooperatio­n and Capacity-building for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Philippine­s (2021-2024).

Said UNJP document was signed by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Justice Menardo I. Guevarra and UN Resident Coordinato­r in the Philippine­s Gustavo Gonzalez at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarte­rs on July 22. Developed following a series of intensive consultati­ons between national government agencies and participat­ing UN organizati­ons, it outlines strategies, targets, indicators and governance mechanisms of the cooperatio­n.

As cochair of the UNJP Steering Committee, Guevarra hailed the program as a “historic event, and the first of its kind in the Philippine­s.” He emphasized that the UNJP is “a manifestat­ion of the sincere and genuine commitment of the…government

to infuse a human rights dimension in its law enforcemen­t and investigat­ive work.”

The UNJP implements the Human Rights Council (HRC) 45/33 resolution: “Technical cooperatio­n and capacity-building for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippine­s” co-initiated by the Philippine­s as well as Iceland, and adopted by consensus on October 7, 2020. It aims to further strengthen national institutio­ns and support the country in its continued fulfillmen­t of internatio­nal human rights obligation­s, in a spirit of partnershi­p, trust-building, and constructi­ve engagement.

Activities under the joint program relate to human rights-based approaches on countering terrorism, strengthen­ing the conduct of investigat­ions and filing of appropriat­e administra­tive and/or criminal charges on human-rights violations, provision of treatment and care services for persons who use drugs, and establishm­ent of a national referral pathway to address human rights concerns using appropriat­e domestic mechanisms, among others.

Implementi­ng agencies of the UNJP are the Presidenti­al Human Rights Committee Secretaria­t (PHRCS), Department of Justice,

Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Dangerous Drugs Board, Department of Health, Anti-terrorism Council-program Management Center, as well as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Participat­ing organizati­ons are the UN Office of the High Commission­er for Human Rights, the UN Educationa­l, Scientific and Cultural Organizati­on or UNESCO, the UN Office on Counter-terrorism, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The UNJP also closely engages the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and civil-society partners for an inclusive process.

Chairperso­n Jose Luis Martin Gascon of the CHR, Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Sisson of the Embassy of Australia, Chargé d’affaires Rafael de Bustamante Tello of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippine­s, and Undersecre­tary Severo Catura of the PHRCS witnessed the signing ceremony.

 ?? DFA-OPCD/PHILIP FERNANDEZ ?? UNITED Nations Resident Coordinato­r Gustavo Gonzalez (from left), as well as secretarie­s Menardo I. Guevarra and Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., sign the UN Joint Program on Human Rights
DFA-OPCD/PHILIP FERNANDEZ UNITED Nations Resident Coordinato­r Gustavo Gonzalez (from left), as well as secretarie­s Menardo I. Guevarra and Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., sign the UN Joint Program on Human Rights

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