CHR charter amendments passed on second reading

CHR charter amendments passed on second reading

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:59:00 10/09/2009

Filed Under: Human Rights, Legislation

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will soon have the power to prosecute human rights violators under its amended charter.

Under House Bill 6822 (An Act Strengthening the Commission on Human Rights and for other purposes), passed on second reading in the House of Representatives, the CHR is being given prosecutorial powers in case of inaction by concerned agencies.

“Recent events revealed our country’s worsening human rights situation — from arbitrary and unlawful arrests to enforced disappearances and from torture to extra judicial killings, from harassments of media outfits to outright killing of journalists. All these lead and point to the CHR as one institution that needs to be strengthened,” said Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III, chairman of the committee on human rights.

The bill also removes the prescriptive period on the investigation of cases of human rights violations.

It also expands the power of the CHR to investigate, giving them unhampered and unrestricted visitorial rights over all detention facilities of the government including those under the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to Tanada.

Under the measure, the CHR will be known as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

“This is significant because international bodies, chief of them the United Nations, have given importance to the designation of a National Human Rights Institution in every country,” Tanada added.

The CHR charter now embodies the concepts and guidelines of the “Paris Principles” among which are independence and pluralism, he said.

The “Paris Principles” are the guidelines and recommendations passed by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1993 for National Human Rights Institutions all over the world.

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