PH, UN to firm up program on investigation, prosecution of rights violations by gov’t forces

Published June 14, 2021, 12:43 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Republic of the Philippines

The Philippines and the United Nations (UN) are set to sign a joint program that would help the country investigate and prosecute human rights abuses committed by government forces.

“We are presently in the process of finalizing the administrative requirements for the formal signing of this program document at the soonest opportunity,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said in a video message posted Sunday night, June 13.

United Nations

Guevarra said that last May 31 the government and the UN resident coordinator completed discussions on the program document of the UN Joint Program (UNJP) on human rights.

“The three-year UNJP aims to support the Philippine government in strengthening its accountability mechanisms, the administration of justice as well as investigations and data collection on allegations on human rights violations,” he said.

“It also seeks to better promote the human rights- based approach to combating drugs,” he added.

Also, he said, the UNJP is also aimed at strengthening of the domestic and investigative mechanism of the Philippine National Police (PNP) by capacitating it in “the tracking, evaluation and analysis and processing of allegations of human rights violations.”

“Furthermore, the UNJP envisions the establishment of a national referral pathway for human rights cases to assist complainants in a accessing appropriate and existing domestic mechanisms and thereby strengthening accountability,” he said.

Under UNJP, “the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines or CHR and civil society are and will continue to be actively engaged as part of an inclusive process,” he added.

He pointed out that also under the UNJP “the UN will support evidence-based treatment and care services for persons who use drugs.”

“It will capacitate national and local authorities as well as teachers, guidance counselors, families and communities in crafting and implementing appropriate interventions top address the needs of persons who use drugs in their recovery and reintegration into society,” he said.

“Capacity building activities geared to alleviate prison overcrowding by strengthening criminal justice responses for drug-related crimes will also be undertaken,” he added.