Friday, November 16, 2012

Creation of inter-agency monitoring body on HR violations underscores gov’t’s commitment to peace, says Deles

From the Website of OPPAP

Creation of inter-agency monitoring body on HR violations underscores gov’t’s commitment to peace, says Deles

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Posted on Tuesday, 13 November, 2012 - 19:12

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles on Thursday said the establishment of an inter-agency monitoring body on human rights violations allegedly committed by government and communist rebels underscores the Government of the Philippines’ (GPH) strong commitment to the achievement of peace.

“We have long recognized that respect for human rights is an indispensable ingredient in establishing and maintaining genuine peace,” Deles said at the signing of Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Complaints Monitoring Working Group (CMWG) held at the Astoria Plaza in Pasig City on November 8.

The CMWG is an inter-agency body tasked to monitor alleged human rights violations of both the security forces of the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).
The GPH Monitoring Committee (MC), the government component of the Joint Monitoring Committee formed to monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), heads the CMWG with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of Justice (DOJ) as members.

Deles said the TOR emphatically reaffirms the government’s commitment to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law.

“More than simple terms of reference, this document, and the inter-agency cooperation it defines, embodies a loud and clear statement of intent…that our commitment to human rights and International Humanitarian Law goes far beyond mere policy statements and lip service and is premised on genuine accountability and justice, for as we know, without justice, there can be no peace,” Deles said.

The CMWG was created to facilitate the investigation of violations of alleged  human rights and IHLthrough cooperative efforts among its member agencies.
Atty. Jaime Arroyo, head of the GPH-MC Secretariat, stressed that the CMWG itself is not an investigative body, but it will “refer [the victims’ complaints] to offices of the government that are mandated to investigate and/or prosecute crimes” against human rights laws.

Reiterating the administration’s commitment to peace talks with the NDF, Secretary Deles said, “The government stands ready to face challenges in pursuit of peace with the Communist rebels and their various instrumentalities.”

“Finding a peaceful solution remains a high priority considering that the armed conflict between the government and the communist NPA has lasted for over four decades and has inflicted unimaginable suffering on several generations of Filipinos, whether it is the government troops, the rebels, or the civilians who are often caught between them,” she added.

Joining Secretary Deles at the TOR signing were Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, AFP Provost Marshal General Brig. Gen. Herbert Yambing, Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate for Community Relations Director Lina Sarmiento, Political Affairs Undersecretary and GPH-MC Chair Jose Luis Martin Gascon and Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Ann P. Rosales.

A the same event, the GPH-MC launched an internet portal that enables partner agencies, other stakeholders, and victims of human rights and IHL violations to file their complaints online. ###



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