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National Conference of Philippine Human Rights Defenders: ‘Enhancing Protection Mechanisms for Philippine HRDs!’

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From 6-8 April 2016, FORUM-ASIA together with its member organisations the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights (PAHRA) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is holding a National Conference of Philippine Human Rights Defenders: ‘Enhancing Protection Mechanisms for Philippine HRDs!’ in Quezon City, the Philippines.

The conference aims to: discuss the difficult challenges that human rights defenders, both individuals and organisations, face, in particular in relation to security and protection concerns; increase awareness, consolidate and strengthen coordination processes, programmes and mechanisms available in defence against the challenges; and draft national legislation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

The need for this conference is clear. The situation of human rights defenders remains precarious in the Philippines. Front Line Defenders reported that the Philippines has the second highest number of human rights defenders killed in 2015. The 31 killings account for 60% reported in Asia Pacific. Moreover, throughout the period of 15 September 2013 till 15 September 2015, 51 cases of violations against human rights defenders were documented by the Medical Action Group and TFDP under the EIDHR project.

This perilous predicament of human rights defenders in the Philippines is caused largely by the assertive advocacy on economic-social and cultural rights in an era where business/corporate power can be now considered as over and beyond the regulations of the State. More so, there has been a significant rise in the criminalisation of human rights defenders in the Philippines. With concern it is also noted that there is a pattern of restrictions against human rights defenders to prohibit them from exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

You can check out tweets straight from the conference by going to our Twitter page.