MANILA, 9 December 2022 — Eight countries and the European Union (EU) confirmed financial support for the United Nations (UN) Joint Programme on Human Rights in the presence of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, and UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez.
The eight countries that are contributing to the UN joint programme are Australia, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland. Their combined contribution amounts to about PhP220 million, which represents a catalytic support of the international community to human rights in the country.
The joint programme was signed by the Philippines and the UN on 22 July 2021. The three-year UN joint programme was developed to implement Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 45/33, adopted on 7 October 2020, which outlined specific areas for capacity-building and technical cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.
Gonzalez said, “On behalf of the UN Country Team in the Philippines, I would like to thank our development partners for being part of this joint programme that is the first and only one of its kind anywhere in the world.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said that at the core of the UN joint programme is inclusivity because “it brings together the government, the UN, international partners, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and civil society.”
Meanwhile Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin Remulla said that “the DOJ’s work in the context of the UN joint programme is not new but a reiteration and reaffirmation of its commitment to constant self-improvement in the area of strengthening of domestic mechanisms and processes relating to the rule of law, accountability, and human rights.”
Through the joint programme, the UN in the Philippines will engage in capacity-building and technical cooperation in six areas, namely, strengthening domestic investigation and accountability mechanisms; data gathering on alleged police violations; civic space and engagement with civil society and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); national mechanism for reporting and follow-up; counter-terrorism legislation; and human rights-based approaches to drug control.
This year’s Human Rights Day, on 10 December, marks the start of a year-long initiative to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 2023. In emphasizing partnerships, the UN Joint Programme on Human Rights seeks to strengthen engagement with a wide range of partners.
Gonzalez said, “International experience shows that human rights protection is always a collective investment. The UN Joint Programme on Human Rights offers the space for such valuable investment where the Government, the Commission on Human Rights, civil society organizations, the UN and resource partners engage with a common sense of purpose: enhancing human rights capacities and accountability.”
In addition to the DoJ and the DFA, the UN joint programme is being co-implemented by the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the Department of Health (DOH), the Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center (ATC-PMC), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as well as the academe are also core partners in the implementation of the programme.
UN entities involved in the programme – the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT); and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – will work with the Government, civil society, and development partners drawing on expertise and best practices to apply human rights-based approaches in these areas.