Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Be unafraid in speaking truth to power, in demanding an end to impunity

Aug 01, 2017

THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) is an independent, non-partisan office established by the Constitution. Words are important in all circumstances but particularly so when uttered by the sitting President as these could quickly render into State policy—regardless of the context of such statements.

We acknowledge the clarification given by the Administration’s Spokesperson that they were uttered in frustration, but we must stress that the CHR shall continue to perform its constitutional mandate to protect and promote the human rights of all people as a ‘watchdog’ institution that should be able to perform its functions independently without any fear or favor. Thus, we reaffirm that we will be able to do so only with the free and unfettered ability to conduct our investigations of cases of human rights violations, including any and all alleged perpetrators whether be state or nonstate actors.

We shall continue to ask and secure the cooperation and assistance of government bodies and other authorities as it is a collective obligation of the entire State as principal duty-bearer to respect and fulfill all human rights. To this end, we shall continue to be unafraid in speaking truth to power and in demanding an end to impunity by steadfastly asking for justice and accountability.

This we must do even more fervently in circumstances such as we observe today, where fundamental human rights of the people are being violated at an unprecedented pace and scale. All persons of goodwill must speak out to call for compliance both in spirit and in practice of the due process guaranteed of the Constitution. We must stand up in favor of protecting all those who are weak, vulnerable, oppressed, and persecuted in society.

The CHR—its Commissioners and staff — will guard its independence in the performance of its mandate. We have and will always abide by the fundamental precepts enshrined in the Constitution. We shall, at all times, adhere to the rule of law even as we ask all other public officers to also do the same, particularly by respecting the systems of checks and balances and separation of powers, as well as established constitutional reform processes. We hope that a regime of truth, freedom, and justice, anchored upon the dignity of all might ultimately prevail.

(Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on calls for its abolition dated July 29, 2017)

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