Background on Philippines Human Rights Community Development Project

Bilateral partnership between the
Commission on Human Rights for the Philippines (CHRP) and
NZ Human Rights Commission (HRC) (2008-2010)

Origins of the Project
  • 17 Nov 2008 10 00 30 Launch   Panglima Bulakka B Background on Philippines Human Rights Community Development ProjectIn the Philippines human rights are included in constitutional guarantees, laws and policies but do not necessarily translate into practice.
  • Indigenous peoples are particularly susceptible to human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, detention, torture and disappearances. The Philippines police and defence forces have been identified as two institutions which most affect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.
  • The governments of the Philippines and New Zealand agreed in May 2007 to invite the two human rights commissions to work together to contribute to the strengthening of human rights in the Philippines.
The Project

17 Nov 2008 10 00 41 Malamaui   Tampalan boys in Background on Philippines Human Rights Community Development ProjectBased on the findings of a scoping exercise to the Philippines in Sept 2007, NZAID approved a proposal from the Commission for a three-year bilateral project between the CHRP and the Commission aimed at :

  • strengthening the ability of indigenous communities to identify and confront human rights abuses
  • encouraging the integration of human rights into the practices of the Police and Military in those communities and
  • supporting the CHRP to develop, implement and evaluate a human rights community development approach in indigenous communities that can be extended to, and adapted for other communities.
The Communities

17 Nov 2008 09 59 40 Kanakana ey Kuia Background on Philippines Human Rights Community Development ProjectThe three Indigenous communities were selected according to criteria agreed upon by the project partners. They are:

  • The Kankan-ey of Kibungan in Benguet. Found in Northern Luzon these largely agricultural people of the Cordilleras face development aggression over their lands and potential cultural decimation.
  • The Higaonon of Esperanza in Agusan del Sur. Located in the Southern island, Mindanao the rich culture of the Higaonon faces insurgency and counter-insurgency and is subject to the violence and oppression of ongoing conflict.
  • The Sama Dilaut or Bajdao/Bajau of Zamboanga and of Basilan. A nomadic sea-faring people from the Sulu Archipelago, the Sama Dialut have been economically marginalised, dispossessed of territory and culturally excluded from participation in Filipino society.

Human rights community development is based on the notion of self-determined development, an empowerment process that recognises and respects the rights of indigenous peoples to promote their own development in accordance with their aspirations and needs. How this can be achieved in the three communities, each one with their own unique culture and history, is the compelling challenge to this project.

Back to top