Launch of the Sourcebook on Environmental Rights and Legal Remedies and the Helpbook on Human Rights Issues: Extralegal Killings and Enforced Disappearances
The Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Philippine Judicial Academy, together with the Program Management Office (PMO), and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Asia Foundation (TAF), held a back-to-back launching of the books Access to Environmental Justice: A Sourcebook on Environmental Rights and Legal Remedies and the Helpbook on Human Rights Issues: Extralegal Killings and Enforced Disappearances on June 10, 2011, at the New Building Lobby, Supreme Court, Manila.
The Access to Environmental Justice: A Sourcebook on Environmental Rights and Legal Remedies was produced along with a Capacity Assessment Report on Environmental Justice, both outcomes of the UNDP project entitled “Development of Framework and Capacity Assessment on Environmental Justice” under the Enhancing Access to the Pillars of Justice Component of the UNDP’s Fostering Democratic Governance Programme. The Sourcebook lays down the principles and framework of environmental justice in the Philippines, identifies the emerging trends in environmental jurisprudence and best practices, and recommends strategies to remedy policy gaps and to promote and enhance Environmental Justice in the Philippine legal system.
On the other hand, the Helpbook on Human Rights Issues: Extralegal Killings and Enforced Disappearances, funded by the USAID, through The Asia Foundation, focuses on state responsibility, human rights and humanitarian law, the doctrine of command responsibility, extralegal killings (ELK) and enforced disappearances (ED). It is intended to (a) further disseminate the knowledge shared during the PHILJA seminar-workshops on extralegal killings and enforced disappearances; (b) provide applicable laws, systems, and processes to guide the different pillars of the justice system, the NGOs, and the community on how best to address the needs of victims of human rights violations with the view of effectively resolving cases of ELKs and EDs; and (c) identify gaps in the legal system and processes of concerned agencies and make recommendations on how to address these gaps.
In his message, UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer described the book, Access to Environmental Justice: A Sourcebook on Environmental Rights and Legal Remedies as “a rich and valuable sourcebook on the access points to and the procedures of Environmental Justice” and emphasized that it is “not only for the judicial courts, but also for government departments, international organizations, communities, and individuals, all of whom now have the tools with which to implement Environmental Justice themselves.”
USAID Deputy Chief Mr. Daniel Miller, in his message, acknowledged the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Philippine Judicial Academy for making the Helpbook on Human Rights Issues: Extralegal Killings and Enforced Disappearances available and expressed the hope that the Helpbook will serve as a user-friendly reference for a better response of all to cases of human rights violations. TAF Country Representative Dr. Steven Rood commended the hard work, research and thorough discussions of representatives of various sectors from all over the country that led to the production of this “important and useful work . . . . written as a guide for all stakeholders” and in clear and easy to understand language.
Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, in his keynote address, acknowledged the support of the UNDP and the USAID, and congratulated the PHILJA for initiating the training of judges, prosecutors, and other key stakeholders in order to build their capacity to hear and adjudicate environmental and human rights cases.
The event was attended by Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Justices, Supreme Court officials, PHILJA officials and staff, and representatives from the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), Ateneo Law School, Australian Embassy, Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Justice (DOJ), Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP), The Asia Foundation (TAF), United Nations Development Programme-Philippines (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Upholding Life and Nature (ULAN).