Press Release
March 15, 2015

Pimentel cites gains of recent IPU Asia-Pacific regional seminar

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Asia-Pacific regional seminar held here has provided legislators of different parliaments the opportunity to re-assess the critical role that parliaments play in protecting and promoting the full human rights of their citizens.

Pimentel, chairman of the seminar that drew a record-high 148 delegates from 19 countries, said the seminar also defined the significant and important contribution that parliaments can bring to the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The UPR is the mechanism in the UN through which the implementation of human rights obligations and commitments of the 193-member states of the UN are examined.

In a report to the Senate, Pimentel said the seminar focused on five key areas to broaden the scope "of our stakeholders on human rights promotion," namely:

1) reviewing the process of the UN's UPR;

2) identifying the parliamentary contribution to this work;

3) highlighting human rights challenges common to the region;

4) defining the place of human rights in development and its impact on disadvantaged and minority groups, and;

5) mapping out strategies for an enhanced parliamentary contribution to the promotion of human rights at the national level.

Pimentel said the delegates, 88 of whom represented foreign parliaments and national human rights commissions and organizations, and 55 local delegates, also recommended specific activities to help parliamentarians strengthen their contribution to the UPR process.

These are: awareness raising and capacity building for members of parliament, and the creation of parliamentary standing or functional committees as mechanisms to promote the UPR and the use of UPR itself.

Other recommendations adopted to push the work of human rights promotion at the national level in the different countries are:

1. Treat human rights as a cross-cutting consideration on all policy and statutory formulations.

2. Establish and continue to maintain strong linkages between parliaments and share best practices.

3. Encourage broader and more inclusive engagements with all stakeholders.

4. Promote the creation, where there are none, of national and regional human rights institutions and mechanisms that are truly independent

5. Encourage the establishment of parliamentary committees to oversee the implementation of international treaties and conventions on human rights, including mechanisms set up by the UN Human Rights Council and other treaty bodies.

Pimentel also cited the leadership of Senate President Franklin Drilon, saying "we seem to have built a strong reputation of holding successful international conferences these past few years under your lead."

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