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AO 22: more of the same cheap stunts seeking international favor


Monday, 13 May 2024

The recently announced Administrative Order 22 creating the Human Rights Coordinating Committee by President Marcos Jr. will replace the United Nations Joint Program on Human Rights (UNJP) which is ending its term in June this year. The Joint Program on Human Rights was a result of the UN Human Rights Council resolution towards capacity building for the Philippines, in light of the devastating war on drugs and war on terror by the previous Duterte government.

The most glaring difference is that the so-called super body no longer has the same role and influence of the UN nor of civil society. While the UNJP is jointly implemented by the government, the UN and member CSOs, the new coordinating committee is fully government implemented and has had entirely no consultation with the UN nor civil society.

Furthermore, there has been no formal assessment of the UN Joint Program in terms of its accomplishments towards exacting accountability for the human rights atrocities of Duterte’s wars. The UN has not made a determination as to the success of the UNJP in meeting the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner’s report on the Philippines. The government has not acknowledged the list of the ongoing and incomplete work of the UNJP which need support for their continuation.

Post-UNJP, sans a more robust role of the United Nations in the Philippines, a stronger mandate for the Commission on Human Rights and civil society’s critical voice in the programs implemented by the HRCC, it stands to fail. Once again the Filipino people faces the grim possibility of human rights being sold cheap to them, while nothing changes on the ground.