PWG Kapihan Assesses Aquino’s First
The Philippine Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights
Mechanism (PWG) with the support of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Liberty (FNF) organized a forum on 8 October 2010
to assess the attention and priority of the Aquino administration
to human rights issues. 120 people who were representatives
of non-government organizations and civil society groups attended
The forum reviewed the government’s commitment to and compliance
United Nations Human Rights Council in relation to the Universal
Periodic Review (UPR) that the Philippines first submitted
in 2008. The participants expressed that the Aquino Administration,
notwithstanding the fact that it is in transition and is considerably
new, ought to take more initiative in addressing human rights
problems in the country. With human rights as a cross-cutting
issue, the government needs to give due attention to the creation
of a practicable human rights agenda to better
fulfill its obligations of promoting and protecting
the rights of its people.
The participants conducted their own review and analysis of five
parts of the UPR report in relation to the: Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention Against
Torture (CAT), Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(CERD), and International Convention on the Protection of the
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICMW).
In discussing CEDAW, the call for greater security and
protection to female migrant workers were made. The Cybercrime
Prevention Act was also pushed. The CRC topic focused
on prohibiting all forms of violence against children
and ensuring effective investigation, prosecution, and compensation
on child torture cases.
The CAT issue was controversial where the repeal of the Human
Security Act, and opposing the amendment to Republic Act 9344
Changing the Age of Crime Responsibility from
15 to 12 were lobbied.
Under the CERD, an assessment of the 2010 census on the inclusion
of the ethnic variable was proposed to come up with disaggregated
data on the socio-economic status of indigenous peoples.
With ICMW meanwhile, programs for overseas contract workers and
house help were suggested.
The forum on October 8 was the first of a two-part activity.
Its summary of proceedings will be made available and presented
to all relevant government agencies and will provide the baseline
information for the discussions at the yearend Kapihan
on December 7 in celebration of the Human Rights