On human rights

Statement delivered by  H.E. Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, during the Third Committee Debate on Agenda Item 73 (b): Promotion and Protection of Human Rights—Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, New York, October 30, 2017.

Madame chairman,

Human rights and sustainable development are interdependent, each necessary to achieve the other.  We, as a community of nations, declared this when we adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  This is also echoed in Our Ambition 2040, the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the country in the next 25 years.

By 2040, Filipinos want to enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life in a Philippines with a prosperous middle-class society where no one is poor and people are smart, innovative and live long healthy lives in safe and peaceful communities. A high-trust society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse, resilient and crime free communities is what we aspire for.

To achieve this end, the Philippine government is guided by the Philippine development plan 2017-2022.  It adopts a culture and gender-sensitive perspective and a human rights-based approach to development and governance.  Our 10-point socioeconomic agenda aims to combat generational poverty, improve living standards, keep the peace and maintain law and order and sustain high economic growth by, among others, investing in human capital development, fighting criminal activities that undermine human capital development and improving social-protection programs.

President Rodrigo Duterte committed that his administration shall be sensitive to the state’s
obligation to promote, protect and advance the rights of our citizens, especially the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable. Social justice shall be pursued, and law and order shall prevail at all times. He has said the work of human rights must work to protect people from all threats against it by state parties and criminal elements, to uplift human dignity and contribute to enhancing that dignity.

To ensure institutional human- rights mechanisms are moving in harmony, the presidential human- rights committee coordinates all policies and leads in the development of human rights.

The Philippine human-rights action plan for the next five years is now in the drafting process. For allegations of human-rights violations, the Philippines has institutions and mechanisms in place to guarantee that human rights are upheld and perpetrators are held accountable.  The state investigates all credible allegations of human-rights violations. And will continue to do so in the spirit of our national traditions of liberty and democracy.

My country continues to uphold the importance of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process. In May this year, the Philippines addressed human-rights issues when it submitted itself to its third Universal Periodic Review in Geneva reflecting our transparency and desire to address concerns. We view this participation as not just mere compliance, but our contribution to the strengthening of the of the UPR mechanism/and the continued relevance of the Human Rights Council.

Madame chairman,

The Philippines is one of the first countries to become a state party to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which celebrates its 70th anniversary next year. In this tradition of promoting human rights, the Philippines renews its commitment to ensuring a safe and secure environment where human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by every Filipino. Thank you.


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