Posts Tagged ‘draft bill’

Philippines: Human Rights Defenders Protection bill adopted in parliament

June 4, 2019

The House of Representatives in the Philippines on 2 June 2019 passed the proposed Human Rights Defenders Protection bill that should prevent human rights violations and abuses committed against HRDs. Surprsingly all 183 congressmen present at last night’s session voted for House Bill 9199, a consolidation of bills filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman (LP, Albay) and Makabayan Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Antonio Tinio, Emmi de Jesus, Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, and Sarah Jane Elago. A badly needed bill as the Philippines is one of the worst places for HRDs [see e.g.:]. As always the real question is what wil happen in practice.

The bill guarantees HRD rights and freedoms; mandates the State and public authorities to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights and freedoms; and imposes appropriate sanctions to counter impunity. Lagman said Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights recorded the killing of 697 human rights defenders in the country for the period 2001-2018 while Task Force Detainees of the Philippines documented 76 human rights violations affecting 333 HRDs from September 2013 to September 2016 alone.

IF signed into law, the bill will also create a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee chaired by a commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and six members who will be jointly nominated by concerned civil society organizations. HB 9199 is based on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the Model National Law on the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders drafted by the International Service for Human Rights.

The bill grants the following rights and freedom to human rights defenders:

  • Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Right to form groups, associations, and organizations
  • Right to solicit, receive, and utilize resources
  • Right to seek, receive, and disseminate information
  • Right to develop and advocate for human rights ideas
  • Right to communicate with non-governmental, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations
  • Rights against vilification
  • Right to access, communicate, and cooperate with international and regional human rights bodies and mechanisms
  • Right to participate in public affairs
  • Right to peaceful assembly
  • Right to represent and advocate
  • Right to freedom movement
  • Right to privacy
  • Freedom from intimidation or reprisal
  • Right to establish a sanctuary for human rights victims and or their families
  • Freedom from defamation and stigmatization
  • Right to exercise cultural rights and to development of personality
  • Right to effective remedy and full reparation

The bill penalizes those who will violate the rights and freedom. Human right defender’s obligations, meanwhile, include conducting investigation; adopting human rights based governance; strengthening protection program; promoting and facilitating human rights education, among others.

Kyrgyz President says no need for ‘foreign agent law’

September 19, 2013

Further to my earlier blog post about Kyrgyzstan following the bad example of Russia in trying to create a ‘foreign agents’ obstacle for human rights defenders, I am happy to refer to Front Line latest update of 19 September 2013 which says that during a press interview on the outcomes of his working visit to Brussels on 17 September 2013, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev stated to journalists that Kyrgyzstan does not need a “foreign agent” law, a draft bill of which was opened for public discussion on 6 September 2013.

On 16 September 2013, ahead of President Atambaev’s visit to Brussels, Front Line Defenders and Human Rights Watch published a joint letter to the European Union urging EU leaders to raise concerns about human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan and getting specific commitments from President Atambaev to address them. The letter also contained an appeal to the EU to press the Kyrgyz President for the immediate release of the wrongfully imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov as well as on the draft bill NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped