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PHILIPPINES: Advancing human rights movements, defending human rights defenders

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The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) is organising its 9th National Congress on 18 September 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines, with the theme "Advancing human rights movements, defending human rights defenders".

According to PAHRA chairperson Max M. de Mesa, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders provide for the international norms, standards and guidelines for the promotion and protection of human rights and human rights defenders (HRDs).

They emphasise the role and responsibility of both duty bearers and rights-holders; lay down the vital roles in upholding human rights for all, in restoring democracy and in building peace.

On the 60th anniversary of UDHR and the 10th year after the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, human rights defenders worldwide are still far from being sufficiently protected.

They frequently fall victim to all forms of human rights violations yet, strive to continue their work for human rights even amidst constant threats and reprisals.

On these important occasions, PAHRA's 9th National Congress plans to gather human rights defenders (HRDs) – representatives of all the alliance membership around the country.

They will share experiences, identify key issues and challenges facing HRDs, and chart a common plan of action for promoting, protecting and advancing comprehensive human rights amidst a coercive environment and a culture of impunity.

On the 18th of September, from 9:00 – 12:00 noon, at the PUBLIC FORUM on "Defending Human Rights Defenders," at SEAMEO Innotech, Quezon City, Philippines, organised by PAHRA, an invited keynote speaker from France-based International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) shall speak on the global and regional trend of human rights defenders, the various recommendations and initiatives for protection.

A panel of reactors from the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Human Rights Affairs Office (AFP-HRAO), Philippine National Police Human Rights Affairs Office (PNP-HRAO), Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) and representative from the civil society organisations are expected to present their programs, plans and initiatives on the theme.

For further details and confirmation, please ask for Mr. Jonal Javier @ PAHRA Secretariat Office, telephone #436-2633 or email the organisation at [email protected] or [email protected].