SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
On International Human Rights Day the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers took President Aquino to task for his complete lack of action when it comes to human rights abuses and human rights violators within the Philippines:
As the numbers of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests as well as other political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights violations increase halfway into the Aquino administration, Noynoy has completely missed the point with a half-hearted and ill-advised approach to human rights. We as lawyers for rights victims and who are out there on the ground believe that he has in fact laid down an environment that emboldens perpetrators, allows them to get away, and worse, sets out new targets for attack.
Such incompetence, if not inexcusable miscomprehension by the Noynoy administration of what human rights protection and promotion really is translates to callous insensitivity to the victims and their families. These are painful reminders that formal semblances of democracy have been all too vulnerable to repeating – by condoning and selectively remembering – the horror and errors of the past. The administrations’ plans have only exacerbated the lingering issues of state-sanctioned violence, military adventurism, and a climate of impunity.
State-sanctioned violence runs unabated, mostly as economic interests of the powerful run counter to the rights of the marginalized. The continuing cold-blooded and serial murders of activists, environmentalists, church people, even media men have only illustrated that the State and is at all times ready to eliminate opposition and to promote the interests of the elite.
So how now will the victims and their families believe that the much-hyped creation of yet another inter-agency task force on rights violations via Administrative Order No 35 will improve the situation? As the administration desperately tries to eke out any modicum of effective approach to the palpable trend of violations, it fails to exude determination and sincerity. How can the State produce a credible report of violations when its very officials and instrumentalities who are directly and indirectly implicated are part of the new caboodle?
More so, the creation of this task force is a public acknowledgment of an inutile Commission of Human Rights (CHR). Noynoy has cleverly transformed the CHR, which through its chair has espoused a convoluted and rhetorical approach to liability, into practically no more than a defender of his administration and whitewasher of even the most abominable violations in plain view.
The lack of a fundamental understanding of urgency, and of the vulnerability of some groups is classic Noynoy. As he continues to deny that there are political prisoners, he even sets out new targets in a bounty list of 235 suspected state enemies. Undisclosed and with no verifiable basis, the list will definitely be used to harass political activists and leaders of peoples’ organizations with or without legal charges. The NUPL has asked the DND and DILG to come clean with this list immediately; otherwise, there will be another institutionalized utter disregard of the right to due process.
Noynoy alternately plays down and overemphasizes human rights issues in what is objectively a calculated bid to confuse people about inaction and counter-productive efforts. Obviously, there is nothing to celebrate on International Human Rights Day, not while his administration continues to show an appalling lack of will, foresight, ability and sensitivity in addressing persistent Philippine human rights concerns amidst the cries for justice by the victims and the families.