AUSTRALIAN SUPPORTS PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Australia and the Philippines today signed a Declaration of Cooperation to support activities that will enhance the capacity of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said the declaration further strengthened the partnership on promotion and protection of human rights between the two countries.
Ambassador Smith and CHR Chairperson Leila de Lima signed the Declaration during an Asia Pacific Policy Forum (APPF) on human rights organised by the Australian Embassy at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Hotel, Ortigas. The Declaration was witnessed by the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, The Hon Catherine Branson QC, visiting the Philippines for the APPF.
“The Australian Government is pleased to assist partner governments such as the Philippines to respect, protect and fulfil their international human rights obligations,” Ambassador Smith said.
“Australians strongly believe in the concept of a ‘fair go’ for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance. Both the governments of Australia and the Philippines recognise respect for human rights is vital to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.”
Australia will provide an initial Php5.2 million grant to enhance the investigative capabilities of the CHR through technical assistance provided by the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team or Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense (EPAF).
Australia’s assistance will enable EPAF and the CHR to work together to improve the CHR’s investigative capacity and the speed and effectiveness by which it responds to allegations of human rights violations.
The APPF is the 14th in a series of policy forums hosted by the Australian Embassy to facilitate policy dialogue on issues of importance to Australia and the Philippines and the region. The forum on human rights featured keynote addresses from Commissioner Branson, Attorney de Lima and retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Reynato Puno. EPAF Executive Director, Dr Jose Pablo Baraybar, CHR Commissioner, Cecilia Quisumbing, Department of Justice Undersecretary, Linda Hornilla, Congressman Lorenzo Tanada and Executive Director, Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Melinda Quintos de Jesus presented during panel discussion sessions.