Strengthening of Governance in the Judicial Sector:
The Fourth component of GoJust Human
An advancement in the field of Human Rights is a political objective of the new Development strategy of the Philippines, and a priority of the Spanish Cooperation in the country. The Go Just Project, “Strengthening of Governance in the Judicial Sector” constitutes a joint initiative between the EU and AECID in the sector of Rule of Law in the Philippines. It aims to reinforce the institutions that deliver justice in the country, promoting at the same time the roles of the national Human Rights institutions and the civil society as seekers of justice and advocates of accountability and support to Human Rights victims.
The two national counterparts of the Project are the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Regional Human Rights Commission of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (RHRC). The project shall contribute to the improvement of their performance and deployment of programmes at the local level, in defense and promotion of Human Rights, and the capacity building of the community and institutions at the local level.
Background: “ Institutional Strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights (Fortaleza) ” Project
The Go Just Human Rights project traces its roots back to the Fortaleza Project, funded by AECID and executed by CHR between 2011 and June 2016. The project, with a funding of 2.7 million Euros, contributed to broadening the scope of CHR and enabled its development at the national level, as well as the creation of national capacities to face an extended mandate, with added Gender Ombud functions, and the operationalization of a National Prevention Mechanism against Torture.
The Fortaleza project included systematic, specialized staff training at the national level, endowment of IT systems and databases, research and development of performance guides and protocols, construction of 4 regional headquarters and transformation of suitable spaces for women and children who are victims of violence, apart from extensive support in equipment. The project included, as well, support to KASAMA, a Development Partner´s joint initiative supporting the civil society through the promotion of dialogue and project funding. The results achieved and the solid relationship between AECID and CHR brought about the agreement between the EU and AECID for the development of a Delegated Cooperation initiative.
The Go Just Human Rights Project is the fourth component of a broader GOJUST initiative of the EU: the Go Just Project, “Strengthening of Governance in the Judicial Sector”. The first three components – to be implemented by the EU and other partners — are centered on strengthening the justice institutions in the Philippines, while the fourth component, which focuses on Human Rights, shall be executed by AECID through a Delegated Cooperation Agreement, and co-funded by the EU and AECID.
Expected results: Component #4, the GOJUST Human Rights Project, shall be centered on the strengthening of regional and national Human Rights institutions, which aims for the effective execution of their mandates.Read the next fact sheet
It shall also promote the strategic role of the civil society in demanding good governance from the judicial sector, and in promoting and defending human rights. The Project aims to accomplish the following:
– Approval of the CHR Chart, a law that will give way to the
institutionalization of the Commission on Human Rights with a broader mandate.
– The implementation of a training program to improve knowledge and abilities of the national and regional Human Rights Commissions personnel (researchers, lawyers and training/information officers), thus carrying on with the endeavor of the “Fortaleza” project.
– Provision by CHR and RHRC of Ombudsman services on gender matters at the national level, to make the enforcement of the Magna Carta of Women possible.
– The establishment of a National Prevention Mechanism against Torture (MNP), a requirement of the Facultative Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adhered to by the Philippines in 2012.
– Implementation of a strategy to broaden the presence of CHR and its 17 regional offices to a national level, by means of supporting Local Government Units (LGUs) in mainstreaming the Human Rights Based Approach in the planning, budgeting, execution and monitoring in the local government units, regionally present national agencies and the Philippine civil society organizations.
– The consolidation of “Human Rights Action Centers at the local level”; which currently has a very limited scope and advocacy capacity.
– The creation of a Human Rights Observatory in the country, which aims to fortify the monitoring and management of data and Human Rights cases filed in the Philippines.
– The effective implementation of the eMAREIS System (Enhanced Martus-based Executive Information System), a Management, Monitoring and Evaluation software of the CHR that enables follow up of Human Rights violation cases at the national level
– The endowment of infrastructures and IT equipment to broaden the presence of the institution at the local level
– Strengthening the civil society’s role of defender and promoter of Human Rights through KaSaMa — a multi-donor initiative established in 2009, whose objective is to facilitate access to funding for innovative Human Rights projects implemented by Philippine civil society organizations.
The Regional Human Rights Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RHRC).
It is important to highlight the inclusion of the RHRC as one of the counterparts of the Go Just Human Rights project. Established in 2012, RHRC is the only Human Rights institution in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It is independent and is endowed with the same powers and mandates as CHR at the national level.
RHRC has identified the following challenges for the institution to fulfil its mandate: (a) fragile, minority communities without access to government facilities are affected by conflict in remote areas (b) internal displacement of the community, (c) disregarded rights of women, children and persons with disabilities, (d) forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, (e) tensions brought about by the active peace process in the region, (f) problems on governance: political violence, feudalism and corruption.