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PH, UN launch first-ever national joint programme for human rights following Human Rights Council resolution 45/33

Human Rights Council Resolution
[L-R] United Nations Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, Secretary of Justice Menardo I. Guevarra, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. sign the UN Joint Programme on Human Rights at the Department of Foreign Affairs

MANILA — The Government of the Philippines and the United Nations (UN) signed today the first-ever national-level UN joint programme on human rights. 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.

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 Joint Programme with the UN manifests the sincere efforts of the Philippine Government to infuse its law enforcement and investigative operations with a human rights dimension in a non-political setting,” said Secretary of Justice Menardo I. Guevarra.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., said, “The joint programme embodies the partnership, trust-building, and constructive engagement between the Philippines and the UN on human rights promotion and protection. I commend all government agencies and the UN bodies involved for the tireless work in developing this programme.“

“This UN joint programme is a critical milestone,” said UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez.“ This is the first-ever UN joint programme on human rights in the Philippines, where we put together the capacities and resources of the UN in support of a wide range of national institutions.”

Aside from the DoJ, 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 will also be core partners in the implementation of the programme.

With an initial contribution of PhP 12,900,000, Australia is the first to provide financial support to the UN joint programme.

Respect for Human Rights is Fundamental

“Respect for human rights is fundamental to all of the UN’s work,” said Gonzalez.“ This project is a commitment that we will keep taking action for human rights, in ways that have an impact, and where it is most needed. We can only do so by listening and partnering with a wide range of actors.”

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, drawing on expertise and best practices to apply human rights-based approaches in these areas.

UNIC United Nations Information Centre Manila - Human Rights Council

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