The DOJ through the Administrative Order No. 35 (AO 35) Office, in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the United Nations (UN) through the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, is holding a Human Rights Summit in observance of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week from 7-10 December 2020.
With the theme “Peace is the Work of Justice” directly taken from the Latin phrase on the DOJ seal Justitiae Pax Opus, the Summit aims to raise awareness and consciousness on various current Human Rights issues.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., and UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo González personally graced the opening ceremony on 7 December 2020.
The Summit’s webinars are conducted online In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, with sign language interpretation to promote inclusion for those hard of hearing. Open to the public via Zoom registration, the webinars will also be live streamed through the Facebook pages of the DOJ and the AO35 Secretariat.
Webinars held during the Summit are: a) Building a Culture of Human Rights: Mainstreaming Human Rights Education; b) Ugnayang Bayan: DOJ Accomplishments and Initiative to Protect and Promote Human Rights; c) Best Practices In Protection of Human Rights Defenders; d) Human Rights Guarantees in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and its IRR; e) Contemporary Issues in International Humanitarian Law and Children in Situations of Armed Conflict; f) Freedom of Expression and Data Privacy on Social Media; and g) South-South Cooperation on Human Rights by the Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN Office on Geneva.
An ancillary activity to the Summit is a Digital Arts Contest which the DOJ is launching in accordance with the theme. This contest aims to raise awareness for the protection and promotion of human rights as well as challenge the imagination and showcase the creative abilities of law students as future advocates, through the use of digital ICT devices and software applications. The deadline for submission of entries is extended to 3 January 2020.
The activity underscores DOJ’s accomplishments in championing human rights advocacies. Secretary Guevarra said that “to this day, the [AO 35] Task Force continues in this work with unwavering dedication and zeal. It investigates and prosecutes state and non-state actors alike. In doing so, it not only ensures criminal accountability for wrongdoing; its work is proof of our continuing adherence to the fundamental tenets of human rights”.
In his welcome message, the President remarked “I am proud that the Philippines is one of the few countries that signed many of the world’s core human rights treaties. This affirms our serious commitment in honoring and fulfilling our treaty obligations and prioritizing the human rights agenda as a means to achieve our country’s Sustainable Development Goals. Let me however stress that our work is far from over. I urge everyone to strengthen the multi sectoral engagement that will foster a healthy human rights environment for all.”
Secretary Guevarra stressed that “this Summit should serve as our platform for earnest, intelligent discourse that we may strengthen sectoral engagement and international partnerships in addressing human rights challenges. These engagements and partnerships will hopefully help bring about a society that is peaceful and inclusive, where the rights of the people are respected at all times, and where justice is accessible to all.”
The National Human Rights Consciousness Week is pursuant to RA 9201, otherwise known as the National Human Rights Consciousness Week Act of 2002.