Lagman urges gov't to ratify UN treaty on 'enforced disappearance'

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Lagman urges ѿapp to ratify UN treaty on ‘enforced disappearance’

By: - Reporter /
/ 09:44 PM May 12, 2024

Lagman urges ѿapp to ratify UN treaty on 'enforced disappearance'

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman–Photo from House of Representatives FB page

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand ѿapp Jr’s creation of a Special Committee on Human Rights must be paired with immediate ratification of the United Nations (UN) treaty on enforced disappearances and Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Protection Act enactment, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman was referring to the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

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The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) defines enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, or abduction of an individual by the state or group acting with the authorization of the state, followed by concealment of the whereabouts of the disappeared person.”

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In a statement, Lagman welcomed ѿapp’ initiative, as he suggested this and likewise highlighted the need for “full and strict implementation of the Anti-Torture Act, the Criminalization of Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Act and the Reparation and Recognition of Human Rights Violations Victims Act.”

“While the Philippines is a state party to eight human rights conventions, it has yet to join 71 States which have ratified the Convention,” the lawmaker said.

“The HRD bill defends human rights defenders from harassment, prosecution, and even death at the hands of State agents and their private cohorts. It is largely based on the Model Law for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders developed by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR),” he added.

Under the bill, Lagman further explained that an HRD is “any person, who individually or in association with others, acts or seeks to act to protect, promote, or strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, at the local, national, regional, and international levels.”

Based on the statement earlier released by the Presidential Communications Office, the special committee will be headed by the executive secretary and co-chaired by the secretary of the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Interior and Local Government secretaries as members.

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Lagman suggested that the body should include representatives from civil society with experience in human rights advocacy.

According to the lawmaker, the bill had been passed twice on third and final reading in the House of Representatives during the 17th and 18th Congresses, but was not acted upon by the Senate due to time constraints. The bill is now pending before the lower chamber.

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TAGS: Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, enforced disappearance, United Nations

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