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PNP Chief vows full support for UN Philippines’ human rights-based programme to combat terrorism and illegal drugs

Gustavo Gonzalez and Guillermo Eleazar
UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez and PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar.

MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar conveyed the PNP’s “full commitment” to the United Nations (UN) Joint Programme on Human Rights, which aims to promote a human rights-based approach to combatting terrorism and illegal drugs.

“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 resoruces of the UN in support of a wide range of national institutions. And the PNP is a central partner in this undertaking.”

The UN joint programme is in line with Human Rights Council Resolution 45/33, adopted on 7 October 2020, which reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of the Philippines to engage actively with the international community to address human rights challenges facing the country. It calls for technical cooperation and capacity-building for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.

UN Philippines and PNP

At a meeting with Gonzalez, Eleazar said that “he appreciates the UN’s commitment to cooperate with the Government of the Philippines”.

He added that “the PNP has opened its office to any queries on human rights from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and that the PNP is committed to give its full support to the joint programme.”

Aside from the PNP, the UN joint programme is being co-implemented by the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Anti-Terrorism Council and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Civil Society Organizations as well as the Academia will also be core partners in the implementation of the programme. Four UN agencies, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHCHR), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are part of the technical cooperation.

The UN joint programme will strengthen cooperation between the Government and non-government organizations, in order to protect civic space. It will also reinforce the Government’s engagement with international human rights mechanisms.

UN Philippines and PNP

The UN joint programme will support the Government’s efforts to combat terrorism, applying a human rights-based approach, and supporting the CHR in monitoring compliance in the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. At the same time, it will apply a human rights-based approach in combatting illegal drugs, including through alternatives to detention, alleviating prison overcrowding and long pre-trial detention.

“Now is the time to reset, to rebuild and recover better, guided by a strong commitment to human rights,” said Gonzalez. “The new UN joint programme is expected to contribute to such national endeavour.”