EU: PH at the forefront of pushing for IP rights
A representative of the European Union (EU) delegation in the Philippines hailed the efforts of the Philippine government in pushing for the interests of the indigenous peoples (IP) in the country.
At a forum celebrating the EU Human Rights Day on Thursday, Deputy Head of EU Delegation in the Philippines Mattias Lentz said that the Philippines is “at the forefront” of including the rights of IPs in the country’s laws.
Lentz cited the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 and the ratification of various international pro-IP agreements as proof of the country’s efforts to include indigenous peoples in the national agenda.
“The Philippines is at the forefront in terms of its legal frameworks with regard to the recognition of indigenous peoples. IP rights are included in numerous articles of the Constitution and, most importantly, in the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation in which the individual and collective basic rights of IPs are enshrined,” Lentz said.
Aside from extolling the government for its efforts in the legal front, Lentz said that since 2009, the EU has poured P550 million to the country to support civil society organizations in implementing projects geared for livelihood development, environmental governance and capacity-building on participatory development in indigenous communities.
“Through political dialogue and development cooperation, the European Union has had a long-standing commitment to the protection and promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines,” he said.
Currently, the EU is supporting projects combating discrimination, human rights violations and impunity against Lumads, promoting maternal and child health of indigenous peoples, and eliminating child labor in Mindanao. The EU has earmarked €7.06 million for the said projects.
Thursday’s forum featured a panel discussion from representatives of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, University of the Philippines,Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Legal Center, and International Monitoring Team where they discussed the future of fighting for IP rights in the country
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