Bangsamoro law ensures human rights protection, says ARMM human rights head
Cotabato City – The Bangsamoro will protect and respect human rights because it is among the primary responsibilities assured under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Commissioner Alikhan Abuat, head of the Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said this is one of the guarantees put in place in the BBL to ensure that the new regional autonomous region would protect and respect human rights.
Abuat said that "it is imperative to not only address the issues and concerns regarding human rights, but also matters that cover transitional initiatives that are impartial to all parties in regard of truth, justice, reparations, and institutional reforms, all in conformity with the international legal standards and obligations since the BBL mandates the establishment of a Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission."
Abuat cited Article II of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which required that the State should ensure that any person whose rights or freedom has been violated should be immediately resolved.
The House version of the Bangsamoro law, known as House Bill 5811 or Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, cited in its preamble that the Bangsamoro law is “within the framework of the Constitution and national sovereignty as well as the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines, the universally accepted principles of human rights, liberty, justice, democracy…”
Article VIII of the BLBAR is devoted on Human Rights provisions. Section 2 cites that “All laws and policies, including customary laws, shall conform to international human rights and humanitarian standards…international human rights instruments shall be guaranteed by the National Government and the Bangsamoro Government.”
Abuat urged the government and the MILF to consider carefully the transitional justice needs of the Bangsamoro, which requires assessing all the root causes of the underlying conflicts that have resulted in gross human rights violations.
"RHRC's thrust is to safeguard the dignity of every human person and guarantee the full respect for human rights in the continuing discourse on the Bangsamoro Basic Law," Abuat concluded.
The proposed Bangsamoro law is the legal iteration of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed on 27 March 2014. It is the final peace pact between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Implementation of the CAB has two main tracks. One is the political track which is the establishment of the Bangsamoro through the passage and ratification of the BBL. Second is the normalization track which includes components on security, socio-economic development programs, and transitional justice and reconciliation.
A Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) was constituted by the parties since October 2014. The TJRC will study and recommend to the peace panels the appropriate mechanisms to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, historical injustices, and human rights violations and marginalization towards healing and reconciliation. ###