2023 March 16
MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday underscored its support for the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Act in view of the increasing reports of serious risks and dangers faced by human rights defenders.
“The past years have been a testament to the need to protect human rights defenders. For standing up for the rights of the weak, vulnerable and marginalized, they have often faced vilification, red-tagging, violence and, worse, even death,” the CHR said in a statement.
It noted that such finding is supported by the results of the CHR’s inquiry about human rights defenders in the Philippines as published in 2020.
There is also an international recognition for the role of human rights defenders in advocating for the full respect for human rights and the rule of law, it said.
To eliminate any doubt and address misunderstanding on what the proposed legislation seeks to achieve and the realities that it seeks to address, the CHR explained it would be more productive for other stakeholders to have an open and genuine dialogue with the advocates of the bill and the human rights defenders.
“The CHR believes that the State has a legal and moral obligation to ensure protection of human rights defenders as they contribute to the development of the country in a democratic and peaceful way,” the CHR said. “What we should collectively address are issues of impunity, corruption, and abuse of power that further disempowers the most vulnerable”.
Ma. Teresa Montemayor