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HR super body superfluous, Amnesty urges Marcos to adhere to UN recommendations

Responding to news that the Office of the President created a “super body to champion human rights”, Amnesty International Philippines Section Director, Butch Olano, said:

“AO 22 is a step in the right direction, however, this has always been a go to solution of the Office of the President when push comes to shove. It doesn’t really make any impact in actual human rights cases as we’ve already seen in past administrations. The bleak human rights situation in the country does not need another level of bureaucracy,”

A ‘super body’ with no political will nor decision-making authority will only result in issues being entangled in a web of red tape and get lost in the maze of bureaucratic confusion. It is a superfluous addition to an already convoluted justice system in the country.

Butch Olano, Section Director

“A ‘super body’ with no political will nor decision-making authority will only result in issues being entangled in a web of red tape and get lost in the maze of bureaucratic confusion. It is a superfluous addition to an already convoluted justice system in the country. Addressing a human rights crisis does not need window-dressing, true change needs to be more than just a facelift,”

“Marcos cannot continue to mislead the country with a mere show of force when accountability for violations has been scarce, and human rights defenders continue to be arbitrarily arrested and charged, disappeared, or killed. We already have the Commission on Human Rights that has the potential to lead various government agencies in implementing human rights programs in the same way the recently signed AO poses to do. There is also the Presidential Human Rights Committee that needs new, competent personnel. They’re supposed to be there to provide advice and direction to the President,”

“The government doesn’t need a ‘super body’ to champion human rights. What it needs to do is accept and implement the recommendations of the UNHRC, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion and get serious about returning to the ICC. What the President needs to do is do is to walk the talk – address and resolve human rights violations by leaning in on the proposals presented by Amnesty International in its annual report and human rights legislative agenda.”

Background:

On 8 May 2024, Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin signed Administrative Order 22 “which aims to enhance the mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.” The “super body” was created following the release of the US State Department’s 2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in the Philippines, Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2023/24, and a Supreme Court Ruling on red-tagging.