MANILA (Mabuhay) – Facing an international audience at a United Nations meeting in France, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima shared the Philippine government’s approach in dealing with cases of extra-judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances.
De Lima said the government’s “composite team approach” was designed to ensure a focused case build-up and speedy resolution of all unsolved and as well as new cases of media killings, torture, and other grave violations of a person’s right to life, liberty, and security.
This approach, adopted by the Inter-Agency Committee under Administrative Order No. 35 that she chairs, allows prosecutors and investigators to collaborate, cooperate and coordinate in the investigation and build-up of validated cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, among others.
“This means a more pre-positioned personnel to respond quickly to these cases,” said the Department of Justice in a statement about De Lima’s speech at the UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
The working meeting brought together the UN family of agencies, member states, international and regional organizations, academe and the media to address threats against the safety of journalists, media workers, and social media producers.
The event was held a few days after the UN’s inaugural commemoration of the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
Also, the DOJ said the discussion centered on ways to transform UN resolutions and papers into prompt, effective and responsive national level strategies by the UN member-states.
In her remarks during the plenary session, De Lima underscored the “protection of journalists as a clear juncture in eradicating the culture of impunity in the [Philippines].”
During the UN meeting, De Lima along with the Philippine contingent, also participated in a program of bilateral meetings to discuss the possibility of greater and more meaningful collaborations within the southeast Asian region.
Attending the program of bilateral meetings were officials from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Council of Europe and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a total of 145 Filipino journalists have been killed for their work since democracy was restored in 1986. Of the number, only 14 cases have convictions.