CHR urges gov’t to set up mechanisms to protect human rights workers 

THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday called on the government to carry out proactive measures to protect human rights workers following the recent shooting of a provincial director of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission.  

“This latest brazen attempt on the life of a human rights defender reflects the continuing climate of hostility faced by many human rights workers,” CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia said in a statement.  

“We ardently request the new administration to take proactive measures to reverse the chilling effect on human rights work created by the numerous attacks and violations committed against human rights defenders.”   

She added that prioritizing the rights and welfare of human rights workers would show the government’s commitment to upholding its human rights obligations. 

The Bangsamoro human rights agency reported that an unidentified assailant shot at the vehicle of Maguindanao Provincial Director Ariff A. Lao in Cotabato City on Aug. 6 at around 7 p.m. 

The Philippine rights commission also called on the current Congress to prioritize a bill protecting human rights workers and advocates. 

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman has refiled the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act as House Bill No. 77. 

A similar bill was approved by the House of Representatives in the previous Congress but its counterpart measure was not passed at the Senate. 

“Concrete legal protection and mechanisms for human rights workers are vital in reviving the human rights situation in the country towards upholding the rights of all, particularly the most vulnerable ones,” said Ms. De Guia. — John Victor D. Ordoñez