MANILA—The Philippine government and the United Nations (UN) on Thursday signed the first-ever national-level UN joint program on human rights.
In a statement, the UN said the joint program was developed to implement Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 45/33, adopted on October 7, 2020, which outlined specific areas for cooperation and capacity-building to promote and protect domestic human rights.
Through the program, the UN in the Philippines will strengthen 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 program 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 Guevarra.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. added: "The joint program 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 program."
Besides the Department of Justice, other agencies involved in the program are: the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Department of Health, the Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Commission on Human Rights.
Civil society organizations and the academe will also be core partners in the implementation of the program, the UN said.
Australia, with an initial contribution of P12.9 million, is the first country to provide financial support to the program.
UN entities involved in the program, such as the the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; the UN Office of Counter Terrorism; and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, will likewise work with the Philippine government to share their expertise and best practices to apply human rights-based approaches in these areas.