Community-Based Dialogue Sessions on HumanRights

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The project, Community-Based Dialogue Sessions on Human Rights Between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and Civil2 Society Organizations and Local Communities, was launched in 2008, at a time when the Philippines got the attention of the international community as a result of the alarming rise in unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.  

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the improvement of the Human Rights situation in the Philippines primarily through the enhancement of the relationship between the AFP and PNP, on one hand, and local communities and civil society organizations, on the other hand, in the common effort to promote human rights. The specific objective of the project is to help create venues for the AFP and the PNP on one hand, primarily through their respective human rights offices, and civil society organizations on the other hand, to collectively discuss the issue of human rights promotion and protection, and how cooperative efforts for on-going and future actions toward human rights promotion and protection can be maximized. 

The project partners are the following:Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP); Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – through the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations (OJ7) and the Human Rights Office (HRO); Philippine National Police (PNP) – through the Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO); Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF); Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA); Alternative Law Groups (ALG); and the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.   The ALG is the overall coordinator of the project, which is now on its seventh (7th) year.

The project primarily involves the conduct of a series of dialogue sessions in different areas nationwide.   The dialogue sessions have the main goal of contributing to the improvement of the Human Rights situation in the Philippines primarily through the enhancement of the relationship between the security forces (AFP and PNP), on one hand, and local communities and civil society organizations, on the other hand, in the common effort to promote human rights.  In its first three years, the project had covered all administrative regions of the country through its regional dialogue sessions. In 2012, the project further localized the dialogue sessions by going into provincial-level dialogue sessions.  After these dialogue sessions that formed the core of the project’s major activities, follow through activities were initiated by the participants of the dialogue sessions in their respective areas.  

For its current Phase 3(2014-2016), the main objective of the program shall be the Institutionalization of the Human Rights Dialogues at the local level.  The project continues the Top-Level Policy Dialogue Mechanism which was launched on May 5, 2012, as part of the Commission on Human Rights’ 25th Anniversary celebration.  This is a mechanism for scaling up the dialogue process from the grassroots to the policy arena, by involving policy makers of lead government offices,with the objective of translating the issues and recommendations that had been identified in various regions, into policy changes.   The project also organizes a series of Training of Trainers for a training module that is specifically focused on a multi-sector audience composed of both civilians and military/police personnel. The module primarily contains cases and materials that will enable the application of human rights principles to specific situations encountered by the civilians and the military/police officers as they relate with each other.