Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on maintaining its Status ‘A’ accreditation as an independent and credible national human rights institution of the Philippines

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on maintaining its Status ‘A’ accreditation as an independent and credible national human rights institution of the Philippines

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes and proudly shares the decision of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) Sub-Committee on Accreditation for CHR to maintain its Status ‘A’ accreditation.

A national human rights institution (NHRI) with an A-Status, such as CHR of the Philippines, marks international validation that the said NHRI faithfully complies with the Paris Principles.

The Paris Principles are international standards that NHRIs must meet to be recognised as credible, particularly by being independent in law, membership, operations, policy, and control of resources. GANHRI adds that the said Principles “require that NHRIs have a broad mandate; pluralism in membership; broad functions; adequate powers; adequate resources; cooperative methods; and engage with international bodies.” [1]

NHRIs with Status ‘A’ are entitled significant participation rights and independent access to UN human rights mechanisms, such as the UN Human Rights Council, its subsidiary bodies, as well as to some General Assembly bodies and mechanisms. They are also granted full membership to GANHRI, including the ability to vote and hold governance positions.

NHRIs apply for review and reaccreditation every five years. It is a rigorous process conducted by other NHRIs representing the regions of Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe.

With respect to CHR’s work domestically, being reaccredited as a Status ‘A’ NHRI means that the Philippine government and the public are assured that we continuously exercise our mandate objectively as a watchdog against human rights violations; monitor to government’s compliance with human rights treaties and standards; advisor on how to improve actions and policies of the government in favour of human rights; and an educator to government and public in better understanding and upholding of human rights—all aligned with the spirit and letters of the 1987 Constitution creating CHR as an independent constitutional body.

Our Status ‘A’ accreditation status also allows CHR to be recognised as an a credible and authoritative voice before international human rights bodies in reporting the human rights situation situation in the country, as well as in reviewing government’s laws, policies, and practices.

At the same time, we continue to commit to pursue steps that will further strengthen our role as an independent NHRI, including advocating for the passage of the CHR Charter.

The proposed CHR Charter seeks to make our mandate more explicit in covering economic, social, and cultural rights, and the power to recommend ratification of, or accession to, international human rights instruments and ensure their implementation.

The said Charter also better outlines the selection process of the Commission en banc; the needed functional immunity in the conduct of our work; fiscal autonomy to ensure independence in operations; and the mandate to directly table our reports to the Office of the President and both Houses of Congresses for their review and consideration of actions needed to improve upholding human rights.

CHR views the recent reaccreditation as an affirmation of our mantra of being a people’s Commission for all, “CHR ng lahat: naglilingkod maging sino ka man.” We continue to commit to be government’s partner in improving the way they fulfill their obligation as the main duty bearer for the human rights of all, while keeping our independence in calling out violations of human rights. ###

[1] GANHRI explainer on the NHRI accreditation, https://ganhri.org/accreditation/#:~:text=Accreditation%20status&text=%27A%20status%27%20NHRIs%20have%20independent,vote%20and%20hold%20governance%20positions.