EU x Phl meet on good governance, rule of law, and human rights

The Second Sub-Committee Meeting on Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union — Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement was convened in Manila, Philippines on 6 October 2022.

Both the EU and the Philippines reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, while recognizing the need for further action on a number of human rights issues.

The monitoring mission assessed the progress and provided an additional platform for continued engagement on human rights and labor rights issues. On this occasion both sides acknowledged that freedom of association and assembly and an enabling civic space are crucial components of any democracy. Both committed to protect human rights defenders from violence and harassment, ensure the freedom for civil society.

The Philippines highlighted the importance of the UN Joint Program on Human Rights which supports the Government’s commitments in the areas of accountability, including in the context of the anti-illegal drugs campaign, police data on human rights violations, civic space, drug control, counter-terrorism, and national reporting mechanism.

The EU reaffirmed its continued support for the UNJP and the strengthening of illegal drug rehabilitation, reintegration and advocacy work. The EU encouraged the Philippines to continue its constructive engagement and to strengthen cooperation with civil society organizations.

The co-chairs recognized the strong collaboration between the Philippines and the EU in peacebuilding in Mindanao and in fostering good governance.

Both sides underlined the importance of a strong independent media environment, including by strengthening prosecution for crimes against journalists. Former Senator Leila de Lima’s case was also raised, as well as the cases of journalists and media workers such as Maria Ressa, when freedom of opinion and expression, media and information were discussed at length. The Philippines provided updates to these cases.

Both sides acknowledged that migration is a global phenomenon that requires close cooperation among countries of origin, transit, and destination in upholding the rights and ensuring the welfare of migrants.

The right to development was discussed in relation to the ongoing process within the Human Rights Council.

The Philippines emphasized the importance of continued engagement with ASEAN and UN human rights and humanitarian bodies. Both the Philippines and the EU looked forward to participating in the 4th ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights on 24 to 26 October 2022. The Philippines likewise invited the EU to take part in the activities and programs of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

The Sub-Committee was co-chaired by the Honorable Jaime Victor B. Ledda, Assistant Secretary of the Office of European Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

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