Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on victims of criminality and universality of human rights

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on victims of criminality and universality of human rights

Press Release | 31 March 2018

The Commission on Human Rights assures the public that its goal in its work is and always has been protecting the rights of all people in the Philippines. However, we must reiterate the importance of due process and following the rule of law. This is the assurance that all people are given the chance to undergo the proper procedures and that they were not arbitrarily denied the chance to life and liberty.

On 28 March 2018, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said in an article reported by Sun Star Cebu that “… what I see is that criminals are not afraid anymore because they have human rights and the victims have no human rights. So what happened? There will be more victims. They’re (the CHR) a big part of this.”

Holding the accused innocent until proven guilty in the court of law is one of the most crucial principles of the Philippine justice system, and the Commission continuously reminds the government and the public that this principle is something we must all uphold.

Ensuring that this right is protected is not endorsing criminality nor is it defending criminals, and any rise in crime in any place in the Philippines cannot be attributed to human rights defenders who strive only for the justice system to work as intended.

The Commission works closely with victims of both human rights violations and crime. Our mandate extends to ensuring these victims are given the proper support and assistance they require to return to their lives; our extensive work with victims of various human rights abuses is a testament to our dedication to ensuring the right of victims are well-protected and cared for.

All humans have the right to due process in court of law. Regardless of their circumstances, summary executions are not justice, and any assertion that their deaths are deserved is a sign of a failing justice system. This right is the very first one listed in the 1987 Philippine Constitution’s Bill of Rights, as such: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” ■