Forum and Workshop on the OP-ICESCR in Philippines
NGO Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its partners in Philippines, ESCR-Asia, the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (Philrights), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) together with the Peoples’ Organizations and NGO ESCR Coalition carried out a National Event on the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, on November 11th in Quezon City-Philippines.
An environment of shock and sadness at the devastating suffering of millions of people in the Philippines, with so much loss of life and hundreds of thousands rendered homeless and denied access to water, food and sanitation, contributed to the resolve and commitment of those who attended the meeting on “Ratifying the Optional Protocol-ICESCR: Fully Realizing Human Rights.”
This event aimed to raise awareness and understanding of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol.
A Public Forum, attended by seven representatives of different sectors of the government, foreign representatives of four countries and over 40 civil society delegates, was held in the morning, which provided an opportunity for meaningful exchanges on how to advance the realization of economic, social and cultural rights for the Filipino people. This was followed by a workshop in the afternoon in which civil society groups came together to strategize on appropriate next steps to effectively advocate and lobby for the ratification of the OP-ICESCR in the Philippines.
During the event, Ms. Minerva Gonzales, chairperson of ESCR-Asia and also a Board Member of ESCR-Net, emphasized: “The Philippine government ratified the ICESCR on June 7, 1974. We think it is high time that we move beyond the corners of a paper and further act to protect our people from transgressions that deprive them of their rights as human persons. Eleven countries have already ratified the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. In Asia, only Mongolia has ratified it. We hope the Philippines will follow soon,”
At the same time, Mr. Chris Grove, ESCR-Net Director and representative of the NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR, highlighted: “The Philippines has the opportunity to provide new and important leadership by being the first ASEAN country and second country in Asia to ratify the Optional Protocol. Further, as a core member of the South East Asia National Human Rights Institutions Forum, the Philippines has committed—since 2007—to working towards establishing an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. Ratifying the Optional Protocol would reaffirm the Philippines’ commitment to establishing mechanisms for effective remedy while deepening its experience with these mechanisms and serving to promote human rights more broadly.”
Update Dec 3, 2013 A RESOLUTION FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO STRONGLY ENDORSE TO AND URGE HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO III TO RATIFY THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (OP-ICESCR) was introduced by Congressman Roy V. Seneres
NGO Coalition thanks its partners for this joint work and expresses its solidarity to all those people affected by the typhoon Haiyan that recently hit the Philippines.