Thursday, October 07, 2010

Philippine leader misses opportunities for human rights, says human rights group

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 7, 2010) — Filipino leader Simeon Benigno Aquino III’s first 100 days in Malacañang were characterized by “missed opportunities” especially in promoting human rights, the Amnesty International Philippines said.

“During his first 100 days in office, President Aquino has highlighted serious human-rights issues in the Philippines, but has yet to take concrete action against them,” AIPh director Aurora Parong said in a statement.

Parong said that although Aquino made “thoughtful comments” about human rights issues during his inaugural address, he “failed to translate his words into action.”

According to AIPh, Aquino missed the opportunities to end human abuses by militias, paramilitary forces and private armies; take steps to prevent extrajudicial killings; and enforced disappearances and ratify the “International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances,” which could have given him a high mark as far as human rights is concerned.

However, despite these missed opportunities, Aquino made progress in institutionalizing human rights protection in governance by his appointment as Justice secretary Leila de Lima, the no-nonsense former chief of the Commission on Human Rights.

AIPh hailed her appointment because Secretary de Lima is a “Justice secretary with strong commitment to human rights.”

It also hailed Aquino's commitment to the Mindanao peace process.

But overall, AIPh’s report card on Aquino’s 100 days in office with regards to human rights issues is a passing mark despite his missing some golden opportunities.

Parong, however, said Aquino still have many chances to improve his record in addressing human rights violations in the country.

“In losing his father, President Aquino has personal experience of a grave human-rights violation,” she said, adding: “The President is now in a position where he can help protect the human rights of all Filipinos.” (Bong D. Fabe)

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