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MANILA, Philippines -- As the Philippines undergoes a universal periodic review before the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines said the country needs to work on ending impunity, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances.
"While significant progress has been made in the area of human rights more needs to be done to effectively tackle shortcomings, notably in the area of impunity, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said.
Ledoux made the comment after a meeting with the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, which is among the civil society organizations the EU funds, at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City Monday.
The ambassador noted that the review will follow-up on the recommendations made in 2008, when the Philippines underwent the process for the first time.
On the positive side, Ledoux said: “The Philippine government has made several important efforts, including in its legislative agenda, in improving good and effective governance, and in tackling economic, social and cultural rights through increased work on reducing poverty.”
“Indeed, significant budget increases could recently be noted in the areas of education, health and social security."
He continued: "On the international level, the Philippine government has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the respect of human rights, especially with last year's ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and this year's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."
EU partnership with TFDP
The EU has given the TFDP P2.75 million for its activities.
Ledoux, together with other ambassadors of the EU, met with TFDP board co-president Sister Crescencia Lucero and TFDP executive director Emmanuel Amistad.
The TFDP project, Dialogue and Consensus-building for the Monitoring and Prevention of Torture and Violence against Women and Children, is one of the 10 projects that the EU in Manila handles for its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, a flagship program for the provision of support to organizations involved in the defense and promotion of human rights.
"Since its inception this project has allowed TFDP to raise awareness on torture and violence, especially against women and children, with members of society that are most vulnerable to abuses. Through this project we were able to reach women and children in the communities, teach them how to spot and document human rights abuses and how to claim their rights,” Amistad said.
The EU Delegation here manages EIDHR projects amounting to more than P128 million.
The other diplomats who went with Ledoux were: Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar, Finnish Ambassador Heikki Hannikainen, Romanian Ambassador Valeriu Gheorghe, Spanish Deputy Head of Mission Maria Molina, and Swedish Deputy Head of Mission Sven Malmberg.
TFDP is one of the oldest NGOs in the country, established during the height of Martial Law in 1974.