25 May 2012 – The Philippine Delegation to the Second Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review will leave for Geneva, Switzerland this weekend for the review of the Philippines’ human rights records scheduled on May 29.
Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima will lead the Philippine Delegation, which is composed of representatives from various government agencies. Secretary de Lima is a human rights advocate and a former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights.
The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism by which the human rights records of member countries of the United Nations (UN) is reviewed by member states with the view to further promote and protect the overall enjoyment of people's human rights.
The Philippines underwent the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2008.
Foremost among the concerns that the Philippine Delegation will address at the Human Rights Council include the allegations of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture. The enhancement of the domestic, legal and institutional capacities on these issues is one of the Government’s priorities. The Philippines continues to undertake concrete measures in addressing these issues, such as coordination between the State’s investigative, prosecutorial, and security agencies with civil society organizations.
The Supreme Court has also instructed all lower courts to prioritize the resolution of pending cases of human rights violations.
The Philippine Delegation will also highlight to the international community the strong human rights platform as well as progress and achievements of President Benigno S. Aquino III, two years into his six-year term of administration.
President Aquino has firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights as a pillar of his administration, while respecting the rule of law, justice and due process, and with continuing engagement of civil society and all stakeholders.
The Philippine Government’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review highlights its commitment to further strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights, most especially for the vulnerable sectors of society.