Thursday, November 8, 2012

European Minister Sees Capacity-Building for AFP

From the Website of AFP

European Minister Sees Capacity-Building for AFP

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Published on Thursday, 01 November 2012 08:55
Written by PAO, AFP
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CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – A possible capacity-building assistance for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Human Rights efforts is seen by European Parliament member, Norica Nicolai who met with AFP Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) Chief, Brig. Gen. Domingo J. Tutaan Jr. along with other Key Military Officials, Tuesday at the AFP General Headquarters, here.

Nicolai expressed her enthusiasm for future cooperation and assistance for the AFP after validating on-going efforts of the military in addressing Human Rights issues among its ranks.

Brig. Gen. Tutaan led the activity by presenting the various reforms the AFP has instituted in order to promote a human rights-protective culture in the defense and security sector. He was accompanied by Representatives from the AFP Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, and the AFP Judge Advocate General, Col. Marian Aleido.
“It surprised us that Madame Nicolai was already well-aware of our efforts in promoting and protecting the Human Rights (HR), and all our undertakings on the adherence to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and the Rule of Law (ROL). This indicates that the AFP’s ‘HR-IHL-ROL’ advocacies have already reached the international community thus opening our windows for more possible avenues for assistance and collaborations,” Brig. Gen. Tutaan said.

Nicolai who recently expressed interest to call on several Philippine officials to discuss certain aspects of the Philippine – European Union (PH-EU) relations is also the Rapporteur on the Ratification of the PH-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).
On the other hand, Undersecretary Severo S. Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) under the Office of the President has expressed that the meeting indicates well to the partnership the Philippines has with the EU on matters delving on human rights, and may also pave the way for future cooperation and capacity building efforts for the AFP.

Aside from AFP’s efforts to address human rights issues, and its adherence to the International Humanitarian Law and Rule of Law, BGen Tutaan presented the AFPHRO’s ongoing programs relative to education and training, publications, foreign exposure, and other cooperation with the EP on HR-IHL-RoL matters.

Strengthening of the AFP Human Rights Office

The AFP is continuously strengthening its Human Rights Office which has been replicated to all levels of commands; from the division, brigade, and down to the battalion level in order to address human rights issues and concerns.

In pursuit of effectively and efficiently addressing human rights violation cases being reported to the AFP, the military has undergone significant reforms anchored with its new campaign plan, the IPSP Bayanihan.

The AFPHRO has been consistent in its campaign programs pertaining to HR-IHL-RoL. This is reflected in the advocacy lectures and seminars about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international human rights bills being conducted regularly by the AFPHRO amongst soldiers particularly those assigned in the field.

Human Rights Advocacy Education and Training within AFP Members

The AFP through the HRO is also very active in teaching AFP personnel assigned in garrisons and in the field about local laws pertaining the Human Rights. The AFPHRO has also been closely coordinating with other government agencies, human rights advocacy groups and Local Government Units (LGUs) to spread the military's advocacy on Human Rights.

The Office continuously conducts a series of advocacy and training seminars in all AFP area commands and units in the field. The seminars are focused on raising the awareness as well as informing soldiers about the principles of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL). It also teaches the soldiers about the proper process of filing complaints against the enemies who committed violations of this agreement.

Human Rights courses and modules are also being taught as pre-entry courses to civilians who intend to join the military. This is also done in military schooling and is taught at the AFP Command and General Staff College (CGSC), one of AFP’s premier training institutions tasked to train senior leaders and key officers who are about to take or assume command and sensitive staff positions in the AFP.

Meanwhile, the AFP Chief of Staff sees the meeting as an advantage for the military organization’s part.

“We see this as another avenue for us to expound and reaffirm our commitment towards the protection and promotion of Human Rights, and adherence to the International Humanitarian Law and Rule of Law. The AFP recognizes that the respect for human rights is at the core of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan. In order for our soldiers to be guided with the right values and advocacy, the military continues to invest extensively in human rights,” AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa said.

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