Philippines wants 625 cases delisted from UN record
The Philippines has commenced work with the United Nations to delist from its official records more than 600 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances, mostly attributed to government forces between 1975 and 2012 and gave assurances that it has put in place a strong legal framework and institutional mechanisms to address the issue.
Senior Philippine officials led by Undersecretary Severo Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee formally moved for the delisting of 625 cases during a meeting with the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
The move was made on Thursday during the first meeting day of the 117th session of the five-member working group in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Philippine mission to the United Nations in Geneva said in a statement.
The working group, headed by Chair-Rapporteur Bernard Duhaime, a Canadian, welcomed the Philippine delegation and the efforts of the Philippine government to engage and prepare detailed documentation, the mission reported.
The mission said that during the meeting, the Philippine delegation sought to clarify and delist 625 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances that took place from 1975 to 2012.
It said the process of clarifying these cases with the United Nations is supported by, and runs parallel to, domestic mechanisms being implemented by the Department of Justice (DOJ), such as that established by the Republic Act No. 10353, or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Law of 2012, and Administrative Order No. 35.
105 cases taken up
Catura told the working group that the domestic mechanisms involved close cooperation between the government and the victims and their families, NGOs and civil society organizations.
The DOJ, on the other hand, informed the working group that 105 of the 625 cases had already been taken up and related claims for reparation granted under the RA 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act of 2013.
During the meeting, DOJ’s State Counsel Maria Theresa Sindico-Guillaume provided the working group with information on the cases where perpetrators had been tried and convicted or acquitted; where victims had been compensated through RA 10368; where the whereabouts or fate of disappeared persons have been reported; and where cases were erroneous duplicates, possibly fictitious, or had been closed.
The Sarajevo meeting, according to the mission, “firmly establishes” a channel of cooperation and dialogue between Philippine government agencies and the working group as the delisting process for the 625 cases, which involves a thorough methodology, is expected to continue.
The working group earlier welcomed in a previous report the Philippines’ RA 10353, which provides preventive mechanisms, remedial measures, and protection of victims through restitution, compensation and rehabilitation of victims, and reflects salient provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
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