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Commission on Human Rights of The Philippines supports The Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute.
05 Sept 2009
On September 5th, 2009, Leila M. de Lima, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of The Philippines (CHR), delivered the Key Note Speech on the Third General Assembly of the Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH), in which she addressed the current state of human rights in The Philippines. In this occasion, Ms. de Lima not only commented on investigations currently under place concerning human rights violations presumably carried out by members of the armed forces and the police forces— investigations that are widely covered in the media— but also made a point of condemning other human rights violations committed by individuals and organizations not belonging to the State apparatus.

The CHR has been working to address the issue of human rights violations by non-State actors. In this regard, it has advocated towards the recognition, in the Anti Torture Bill, that non-State actors must be held accountable for acts of torture. It has also called on all parties to eliminate practices such as the use of child soldiers, the use of women and children as human shields, the taking of hostages, the carrying out of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the use of indiscriminate bombing, and the use of blockades, among other illegal practices. Additionally, the CRC has also exhumed human remains in Davao.

The CHR’s concerns on human rights violations committed both by State and non-State actors have led it to support The Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC. In her speech, Ms. de Lima stated that “By becoming a party to this treaty, one other mechanism is made available for helping to end impunity in our country, with respect to both State and non-State actors”. Furthermore, Ms. de Lima expressly recognized the existence of a non-international armed conflict in The Philippines, and invoked common article three to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 as an example of international standards which have to be abided by all individuals, including non-State actors.