by PhilRights Staff

Welcome to HR Insights, a weekly roundup of human rights news in the Philippines. This week…

CHR, house seek probe of arrest of lawyers in Makati

Various institutions, including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and lawmakers from the House of Representatives, are now seeking to investigate the arrest of three lawyers in Makati who allegedly interfered with police operations in a raided bar in Makati.

In a Philippine Star article, CHR Chair Chito Gascon said: “We are very concerned by this because it is essential to ensuring protection of human rights that lawyers are insulated from assault and be given the widest latitude to advocate for the best interests of their clients.”

The Philippine Daily Inquirer also reported that Assistant Majority Leader and 1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro, Jr. and Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon filed a resolution to investigate the said arrest.

According to the proponents, the arrest was “highly irregular considering that the ones arrested are lawyers who are officers of the court and who are only at the scene of the raid to perform their duties as counsel of the said establishment.”

CHR: Ninja cops’ lives are priceless, too

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) agreed with President Duterte that ‘ninja’ cops or scalawags must be removed from service but opposed the president’s call for their deaths, the Philippine Star reported.

CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said in a statement that “like any human being, their lives are priceless too and should not be equated to any amount, however low or exorbitant it may be.” She added that the removal of erring police by death “promotes vigilantism and perpetuates the cycle of violence.”

A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer has Duterte announcing on August 17 that he will give Php 5 million to anyone who can bring him a dead ‘ninja police.’ He added that if the ninja police were brought in alive, he will instead give P10,000 to the ones who caught them and kick them out of the force.

Less than 24 hours after Duterte made this announcement, two ninja cops were killed in a drug bust operation in Zamboanga.

UN to PH gov’t: remove human rights defenders from terror list

The United Nations (UN) called on the Philippine government to remove the names of human rights defenders in the list of terrorists, CNN Philippines reported.

The names of four people, including UN special rapporteur Victioria Tauli-Corpuz, were already cleared from the list. However, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Frost said that the removal of high-profile people’s names from the list will not stop them from fighting for the rights of other defenders in the list.

In an Philippine Star article, Frost said: “The inclusion of human rights defenders, among them indigenous peoples, on the government list amounts to intimidation and harassment of people who are peacefully defending their rights.”

The terror list and the inclusion of the names of human rights defenders in it endangers people’s lives. Some human rights defenders like Tauli-Corpuz even have to stay on the run as they worry about their safety.

MUST READ: DepEd pushes for ‘rights-based’ education

Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Josephine Maribojoc said during the first national summit on child protection that the universality of human rights must be taught to children so they can protect themselves from violence and abuse.

She also mentioned that there should be a wider perspective when it comes to right to education. For her, it should not only be limited to the right to access to basic education but also rights of children in schools. This includes ensuring safe learning environments for children.

Read the full Rappler article here.

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