Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region


Position Paper on Mining and Logging: the Samarnon Viewpoint

SIBF position paper read by Fr. Cesar Aculan in the hearing of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities headed by Sen. Jamby Madrigal, as Chairperson
March 10, 2006 in Borongan, Eastern Samar

Fr. Cesar Aculan

"For as long as the government agencies regulating the twin industries of mass destruction are not cleansed of officials who lawyer, and act as fixers and fiddlers of these industries, no amount of harping about “responsible” mining and logging can be credible enough for us to risk being victimized again by these industries..."

I would like to thank this Committee, especially you, Madame Chair, for inviting me. I will deal on the viewpoint of local communities, which are confronted by the logging and mining issues. We have included mining, because with logging, they comprise the twin industries of mass destruction, at least in Samar. When it comes to these twins, the threats to Cultural Communities and Local Communities largely differ not in description but in degrees, so much so that probing these industries from the perspective of the local communities has relevance to the Cultural Communities.

This position paper deals on the Samarnon viewpoint on logging and mining in our island, hoping that in your legislative work, you will be able to pick out what can be of national application.  We claim this to be a Samarnon viewpoint not just because we come from Samar, but especially because this position is based on the history and recent experiences of Samarnons and is aimed to promote the welfare of Samarnons.

The basic premise of the Samarnon viewpoint is our claim of stewardship rights over our forests, as a matter of original even primordial right over anybody else’s claims of “prior rights”. God gave us these forests as that part of His creation that He entrusts to us. For those among us who are not that religiously inclined, our claim is based on the fact that we are the ones who suffer when it is abused, hence we should be the ones to manage it to ensure that we benefit from it --- and sustainably too. As stewards, we are accountable to God and the future generations of Samarnons.

The Samarnon viewpoint has been shaped mainly by our experiences and history which likewise made logging and mining the twin industries of mass destruction in Samar. The massive floods of 1989 were lessons enough. Additionally, the residents of Catubig N. Samar say that at the height of the logging operations of the San Jose Timber Corporation (SJTC) and years thereafter, the streets of Catubig were usually flooded by an overflowing Catubig River, after twenty-four hours of heavy rains. Today, the same streets are not yet flooded even after seven days of heavy rains. The Bagacay mines and how it made Taft River biologically dead, is relatively well-known. What is not as publicized is when for years people of nearby communities, and those going to Catbalogan, Samar from the south were assaulted by pungent odors from the stockpile of coal near the highway. What is also far from the public eye is the disembowelment of the isolated island of Manicani by mining operations. These are examples of how mining and logging became the twin industries of mass destruction.

Looking through the prism of the Samarnon viewpoint, here is how we view several DENR and SJTC pronouncements when the issue on the logging moratorium got the attention of the media, particularly the Philippine Daily Inquirer. We have filed a case in court on this issue, hence please understand us Madame Chair for excluding the legal issues.

1. That the SJTC will be undertaking “selective” and “sustainable” logging

“The SJTC lawyer talks about ‘responsible and sustainable logging practices’, without elaborating. This must be the “selective logging” Sen. Enrile described as “harvest(ing) trees that are at least 70-cm in diameter”, as if it is as simple as cutting plants in a garden.

Cutting a tree of that size destroys the smaller trees that it falls on.
Each log, weighing at least three tons, is dragged through the forest floor by a bulldozer for kilometers, hence, in the process, uprooting all the trees of all sizes along the way. Multiply that process ten times a day, then by 3,840 working days in the sixteen years extension period for the SJTC, and we can start to have a rough picture of how “responsible and sustainable” this “selective logging” can be.
With such destruction, timber is still “renewable”, but while SJTC got a quick buck for the destruction --- the people of Samar just have to wait for another twenty years for the forest to recover.”

2. That the logging operations will consist of merely harvesting only those planted by San Jose Timber Corporation:

This makes sense when viewed only from the time of the planting. But the fact is that before the planting was the large scale cutting of trees in the manner described above. All that the SJTC may have planted in Samar are therefore poor replacements to the logs it harvested and the smaller trees it destroyed in the process. The SJTC therefore has no right to harvest what it planted.  In fact, it still has an obligation to plant more trees.

3. On the SJTC as a “company that has been true to its covenant with the government and the people of Samar Island”. WE would like to quote the same SIBF statement

“That must have been easy since that ‘government’ was, for the most part (1977 to 1986) the Martial Law government with then Defense Minister Enrile as its chief enforcer.”
 “Was that ‘covenant… with the people of the island of Samar’ the cause or the effect when then Defense Minister Enrile militarized Samar with, at one time reaching, as many as 8 battalions?   Did the terms of that ‘covenant’ include the atrocities and human rights violations committed by these battalions?

4. On the connection between the senate confirmation hearings for the then Secretary Defensor’s appointment and the resuscitation of SJTC’s supposed “rights”.

This is already the second time that our forests were used as “balato” in the confirmation process of a DENR Secretary. The first time around, we saw how the seemingly innocuous support of then Vice President Guingona for the confirmation of Sec. Alvarez got converted into a menacing Mineral Production Sharing Agreement for Bauxite Resources Incorporated (BRI) owned by brother Benjamin Guingona. This was granted by Sec. Alvarez on December 4, 2002 just before stepping out of office. By the way, the rights under this MPSA have been sold recently to the Pacific Aluminum Mining Philippines, thus confirming our suspicion that the application for the MPSA was made for purely speculative purposes.

When we saw Sen. Enrile lawyering for Sec. Defensor’s confirmation, not a few “pustahan ng isang kaha ng beer” were made that we will eventually be hearing about SJTC. But even my friends who won in the pustahans were surprised that it happened that fast. Because of this seeming pattern, many of us are worried that a part of our forests would again be given as “balato” if the confirmation of Sec. Angelo Reyes encounters confirmation problems. In this connection, we would like to congratulate you Madame Chair for your recent appointment to the Senate Commission on Appointments. We also appeal to you to redeem the image of the Commission on Appointments among Samarnons by not allowing the balato practice to happen again, especially when involving our forests.

Madame Chair, every time the issue of mining or logging crops up, three concerns inevitably surface: 1) the “advances in technology” and practices which, according to them, make these industries less harmful to the environment; 2) the benefits to the people, the validity and reliability of the claims and promises of the twin industries, and 3) the relation between the government and these industries. Having grappled with these concerns more than once as a people, an emerging consensus is forming into pre-conditions before we can even consider mining and logging.

1. Sustainable and environment-friendly technologies and practices in these industries must have been demonstrated to be the standard practice in the country.

The peddlers and fiddlers of both industries habitually cite “advances in technology in other countries” to assuage concerns about their environmental impact or sustainability. And they think that is enough. There already exists a technology for going to the moon  --- but this does not mean we will believe the next Tom, Dick and Harry nor, if this committee prefers a more local and recent flavor, the next Juan, Mike or Angelo, who sells tickets to the moon.

We got burned already by these industries not once, not even just twice, but more than thrice.  We therefore would rather see these advances routinely practiced in other parts of the country first before we risk getting burned again.


The people of Samar, especially those adversely affected, are guaranteed to be the main and not just secondary beneficiaries in the operations of these industries.

The operative words are “guaranteed” and “main…beneficiaries”.  The Samarnons are the main victims when things go wrong in the operations of these industries, hence they should get the bigger slice of the benefits. The twin industries of mass destruction always claim that the people of Samar will benefit during their operations. So far, our history shows that the people of Samar got merely the crumbs and left-overs. When they leave we are left with a fate worse than the proverbial empty sacks, after all empty sacks don’t poison rivers, as the Bagacay mines did, nor do they cause floods, as the SJTC logging operations. We still have to get to the details as to what we can consider as “guarantee”. But we can be sure that presently the assurances of the SJTC and holders of MPSA rights are hollow.


Full disclosure must be made by the logging and mining companies, and a knockout rule must be enforced.

The right of the Cultural Communities to a “free, prior, and informed consent” before any mining and logging operations, is already recognized. But this will remain empty and ineffective if there is no corresponding obligation on the part of the logging and mining companies to make full disclosure.  No one, much less the cultural communities, can make informed decisions on the basis of half-truths and misrepresentations.

To force the logging and mining companies to make full disclosure, anyone found to be deliberately committing misrepresentations and deceptive claims should be knocked out of contention.  This may sound tough.  But full disclosure is the heart and soul of being “responsible”.  Deceivers and liars can never be considered “responsible”, hence they have no place in a TRULY “responsible” mining and logging program of any government.


The governance in the country must have reached a level wherein the government agencies regulating these industries have been consistently proven to do their job, instead of lawyering and acting as patrons for these industries.

Changing adjectives before mining and logging is not enough, it could even be worse when designed to deceive. Before, it was “sustainable mining”. Later, it is “responsible mining”. Now we are hearing “sustainable and responsible logging”. They ain’t twins for nothin’!

In our region, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau stooped to even as low as “unscrupulously lawyering for the BRI, even to the extent of citing an unwanted Presidential Proclamation and ignoring another popular and more recent Presidential Proclamation. Worse, this MPSA was granted with the MGB acting like a petty fixer of the BRI when it by-passed governing implementing rules and regulations”. (A Petition to the DENR Secretary for the Cancellation of MPSAS in Samar Island). By the way, the former was that of the Marcos Regime establishing the Samar Bauxite Mineral Reservation, and the latter was Pres. Ramos’ Presidential Proclamation 744, declaring Samar’s remaining forests as Samar Island Forest Reserve. Now, who in his or her right mind would trust that the same MGB will regulate the mining industry?

As for logging, allow me Madame Chair to quote from the “A Joint Pastoral Statement of the Bishops and Clergy of Samar and Leyte” commenting on the DENR Order allowing SJTC to operate again:


“The issuance of the Order came in the wake of a morally compromised situation: two public officials sharing favors that seem mutually related to one another. A Senator of the Republic helping to confirm the appointment of a DENR Secretary who himself issues an Order allowing the Senator’s logging company to operate again clearly does not at all inspire confidence in the absence of political trade-off between powerful people at the expense of Samar Island and its hapless people.”


For as long as the government agencies regulating the twin industries of mass destruction are not cleansed of officials who lawyer, and act as fixers and fiddlers of these industries, no amount of harping about “responsible” mining and logging can be credible enough for us to risk being victimized again by these industries. Only when these regulatory bodies are beyond the influence of the Secretaries of the DENR who spend time selling the country to the world as a mining haven --- either by restructuring these to be independent bodies, or putting them under people who have proven their ability to stand up to their Secretary --- can we then trust them to protect us.  As long as TLAs and MPSAs acquired through clearly improper means remain, Responsible Mining and Logging will always be highly suspect. Unless the peddlers of “responsible” logging and mining  ---  be they DENR Secretaries, Speakers of the House, or Presidents of the Republic --- do not show on-the-ground results that they are addressing the above issues, then to us, they will be just modern-day Pied Pipers trying to fiddle us to our perdition.

To conclude, Madame Chair, I would like to bring to you two messages from the Samarnons: the one we sent when we held the islandwide caravan in 2003, and the other which we wanted to send had we pushed through with our Anti-logging Islandwide Samar Caravan 2005. This was called off in exchange for the promise made by Sec. Defensor to our Bishops that there will be no mining in Samar:

The message in the 2003 Caravan was “YES TO SINP, NO TO MINING”

The message of this year’s caravan would have been “PASS THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE SINP BILL, CANCEL ALL MPSAs and TLAs in SAMAR”

Madam Chair and honorable members of this Committee, we appeal to you to help us get the original version of the SINP Bill passed in the Senate by co-sponsoring and husbanding its speedy passage.  Thank you.





The Office of Bishop, Symbols of Office and the Rite of Canonical Installation: A Commentary

By Msgr. RAMON B. AGUILOS, Media Liaison, Archdiocese of Palo
April 5, 2006


On May 2, 2006, the Archdiocese of Palo will mark a significant milestone in her history. It will be the installation of His Excellency the Most Reverend Jose Serafio Palma as Archbishop of Palo. He succeeds His Excellency the Most Reverend Pedro Dean who in February 21, 2005 reached the canonical age of retirement at 75 years old, and whose letter of resignation was accepted by the Holy Father Benedict XI on March 18, 2006. It is not clear at this time, though, whether the Holy Father’s newly appointed personal representative to the Philippines, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Fernando Filoni, will attend the celebration.

During the installation rites, the official decree announcing Archbishop-elect Palma’s appointment will be read. Then the Apostolic Nuncio (if present), together with the outgoing Archbishop, will install Archbishop-elect Palma in his chair “cathedra” to take his place as the new shepherd, the seventh bishop/third archbishop of Palo. As a spiritual leader guide, he is the seventh to lead the flock of the ecclesiastical see of Palo; the other bishops who had preceded him were Bishops Manuel Mascariñas (1938-1952), Lino Gonzaga (1952-1967), Teotimo Pacis, CM (1967-1970), Manuel Salvador (1970-1973), Cipriano Urgel (1973-1985) and Pedro Dean (1985-2006). Archbishop-elect Palma will be the third bishop to take on the title of “archbishop” ever since the ecclesiastical see of Palo was elevated to an archdiocese in 1982; the other archbishops were Archbishops Urgel and Dean.

The liturgy of the canonical installation is rich in symbolism and tradition. From the symbols of a bishop’s office to the rite of installation itself, every sign and moment continues the sacred tradition of the Catholic Church. This celebration will draw into prayer and contemplation, as the faithful prays for Archbishop Palma who will take possession of the Archdiocese of Palo. The faithful will also pray for Archbishop Dean that God will grant him many happy years of retirement and reward him for his faithful service. The faithful prays for the Archdiocese of Palo as they welcome their new shepherd.

Explanation of the Office of Bishop

As the authoritative teacher of those entrusted to his care, the bishop interprets the Christian revelation to his flock. At his ordination he is asked to confirm his beliefs in the major tenets of the Creed. He must set forth the moral teaching of Christ and make judgments on conditions within the diocese to which principles of social justice apply. The apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (the Gospel must be proclaimed) sums up the thought of the Church on this point: “In union with the successor of Peter, the bishops, who are successors of the Apostles, receive through the power of their episcopal ordination the authority to teach the revealed truth in the Church. They are teachers of the faith.” A bishop is to sanctify, teach and govern. These are three distinct but not separate tasks. It is a question, in fact, of three aspects of the one office of the pastor, the successor of the Apostles. Each of these tasks presupposes the other two. As regards his teaching task, the bishop is not only the one who instructs but who leads. His word is not only based on the truth; it is the way. It marks out a path, for the bishop is the head of the flock which he governs in order to lead it to meet the Lord. His teaching is also sanctifying (the Council says deliberately that the bishop is a spiritual guide). Through the specific dynamism of conversion and deepening of religious life, he gathers and constitutes the Christian community which reaches its culminating point in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The bishop, as the local chief shepherd, encourages a spirit of prayer, celebrates the liturgy for all, works for peace and justice, especially for the poor and disenfranchised, and strives to promote a healthy dialogue with other faiths.

Symbols of the Office of the Bishop

There are several symbols of the Office of the Bishop. The first symbols are connected with the bishop’s cathedral. The “Cathedral Church” is the site of the bishop’s chair or “cathedra.” It is a symbol of the spiritual temple that is built up in souls and is resplendent with the glory of divine grace. The bishop’s chair (cathedra) is placed prominently near the main altar. It represents the seat of diocesan authority that is vested in the bishop, our chief priest, teacher and pastor, the one to whom all the people of the diocese look for guidance.

The other symbols are those of the bishop’s office. The miter, or peaked cap, was first used exclusively by the pope as a mark of distinction. By the 12th century, its use was extended to all bishops as a mark of their office and a symbol of their authority. The zucchetto, or skull cap, was developed to cover the tonsure, that part of the back of the head that was shaved as a man entered into the clerical state. The ring originally worn by the pope and known as the “Fisherman’s Ring” was to link the ministry of the pope with the ministry of Saint Peter the Apostle. By the 12th century, all bishops had adopted the custom. It is a sign of the bishop’s fidelity and nuptial bond with the Church, his spouse. The pectoral cross is worn to reflect the order of dignity of the office of bishop. It served originally as a reliquary of the True Cross, which encouraged the custom of wearing this cross close to the heart. The crosier or pastoral staff takes its shape from the crook used by shepherds. Over time, all bishops acquired the custom of carrying a staff as an outward sign of their ministry as shepherds of God’s people. The crosier is carried by the bishop as a sign of his jurisdiction, a sign that this is indeed his flock.

Rite of Canonical Installation

Hopefully, the presence the Holy Father’s representative, the Apostolic Nuncio, will highlight the importance of the installation ceremony. Once the procession has taken place, the nuncio or the archdiocesan chancellor will read the Official Decree of the Holy Father appointing Archbishop Palma as the Archbishop of Palo. Once the Decree has been read, the chancellor will present it to the priests and the faithful. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese will be the one who will record the event in the archives of the Curia. Once this has taken place, Archbishop Palma will be escorted to the cathedra by the Apostolic Nuncio and Archbishop Pedro Dean. When he is seated in the chair, he formally takes up his role of shepherd of the Lord’s Flock in the Archdiocese of Palo. The Congregation acknowledges by applause the acceptance of their new Archbishop. After Archbishop Palma is seated for a moment, he will stand and receive the fraternal kiss of peace from Archbishop Dean. Then, the clergy of the Archdiocese of Palo, some representatives of the archdiocesan community, as well as civic officials will be brought forward to greet and welcome Archbishop Palma.

At this point in the liturgy, Archbishop Palma will become principal celebrant of the Mass. For the first time, the archbishop will celebrate with his priests, the Banquet of Christ’s Sacrifice. For all of this, the celebration is one of joy and thanksgiving. The whole congregation takes this opportunity to pray for the new shepherd.





PHILIPPINES: Law needed to stop torture and systemic negligence in the Philippines

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
March 31, 2006

The brutal police torture and filing of supposedly fabricated charges against 11 persons—including two minors--in Buguias, Benguet on 14 February 2006 is yet another instance of the arbitrary use of authority by the police and military in the Philippines. As the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported earlier, the group were arrested in the north of the country while hitchhiking on a truck, and allegedly beaten and kicked by members of the 1604th Police Provincial Mobile Group. Back at the police camp, they were accused of being part of a February 10 raid on a military base, and again allegedly subjected to extremely cruel torture, including genital beating, suffocation and electrocution. They have been in custody since, and the trial against them is now getting underway.

Despite the gravity of the victims' allegations against the police, there is no way for them to lodge complaints or obtain redress as envisaged by common article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment--both of which the government of the Philippines claims to uphold. There is no law prohibiting torture in the Philippines, even though it is outlawed by the 1987 Constitution. A 2005 bill to introduce the Anti-Torture Act (HB 4307) has been stalled in parliament. The failure to enact a law to criminalise torture violates the government's international obligations, especially under the Convention against Torture.

Not only are torture victims in the Philippines denied the possibility of making complaints, they are also denied medical treatment. One of the Benguet victims, Rundren Lao, managed to escape--while the police were drunk, he says. Naively, he sought help from the Department of Welfare and Development (DSWD). Instead of attempting to verify his story and making arrangements for the physical and mental care that he needed, the department turned him over to law enforcement officers, who in turn returned him to his original captors, after they issued an arrest warrant. So an obviously damaged and traumatised man was placed back in the hands of his alleged torturers.

The law requires that minors and adults be confined and treated separately. However, even in this respect the DSWD has proven itself unwilling to fulfill its mandate and protect human rights. In the Benguet case, a department spokesperson said in a television interview that it is difficult for the department to transfer the victims to juvenile detention due to the nature of the charges. This outrageous position assumes, without any basis, that there are crimes for which children should be treated as children and others for which they should be treated as adults. It is a blatant denial of the responsibilities of the DSWD, and the Philippines' obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which it is also a party. The department's failure to secure the detention of the two juveniles at a separate facility and properly assess the conditions under which the other nine were taken into custody amounts to blatant negligence on its part, and another violation of international law. The absence of a law on torture means that neither the police nor the DSWD feels beholden to torture victims. The police cannot be charged for having committed torture. The social welfare staff cannot be held liable for their negligence or inaction.

The AHRC supports Senator Aquilino Pimentel's call that the chief of police Gen. Arturo Lumibao conduct an investigation into the victims' allegations. The Police Regional Office of the Cordillera Administrative Region and Provincial Police Office of Benguet must answer the accusations against them. The accused officers should be immediately suspended until an investigation is concluded, and a decision made regarding the filing of charges before quasi-judicial bodies and the courts if probable cause is established.

The police and military in the Philippines will continue to use torture as their primary means of investigation until a law makes their practices illegal, and perpetrators are prosecuted. The constitution and the Convention against Torture will only have meaning in the Philippines when the government recognises its obligations under these laws to treat torturers as criminals. The government's delay in introducing such a law is completely unacceptable and without justification.

The Asian Human Rights Commission again calls on the president of the Philippines to place the passing of a law to criminalise torture among the government's top priorities. Members of parliament too must ensure that this law is passed without delay, so that no more Filipinos are denied the possibility of remedy and redress. The enactment of this law is a precondition to the protection and improvement of all human rights in the Philippines.





UNITED NATIONS: A second chance for all - the AHRC welcomes the establishment of the United Nations Human Rights Council

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
March 16, 2006

The first step on a new road towards the worldwide enjoyment of human rights and the protection of victims was taken yesterday, with the creation of the United Nations' Human Rights Council, following a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly. This adoption, by a vote of 170 to four with three abstentions, underlines the universal ownership of human rights. The Asian Human Rights Commission welcomes this significant step and sincerely hopes that the body's establishment will herald a new and positive era in the implementation of all human rights for all.

New impetus has been required for some time, with the soon to be abolished Commission on Human Rights having progressively lost credibility, notably due to the inclusion of some of the world's worst human rights violators as its members and the lack of effective implementation of its recommendations. The Commission was established in 1946 and has played an important role in advancing the human rights debate and producing a framework of laws, standards and mechanisms. However, times have changed since the Commission's inception. As was stated by United Nations Secretary General Koffi Anan, in his address to the Commission in 2005, "the era of declaration is now giving way, as it should, to an era of implementation."

The AHRC gives primacy to the implementation of human rights laws and standards and sees in the new 47-member Council an opportunity to bring about such greatly needed measures. Implementation requires moving from the discussion of human rights and establishment of standards to the concrete improvement of the situation of actual or potential victims, the protection of persons from violations and an end to the impunity that accompanies even the gravest abuses in many parts of the world, including in the majority of Asian countries. Such improvements regarding human rights benefit everyone; not only individual citizens, but the States themselves. The development and security of States and persons fundamentally require the protection and enjoyment of human rights.

The resolution establishing the Human Rights Council provides new standards and procedures for the election of members, notably through an absolute majority of at least 96 positive votes, which should allow grave violators of rights to be excluded from Council membership. The Commission has previously been greatly undermined by the membership of States seeking to protect themselves from criticism rather than uphold rights. States are urged to only elect members that express a clear commitment to human rights and have a record to back their claims. It is therefore essential that regional groups present a range of candidates at least thirty days prior to the elections, which are set for May 9, 2006, so that each candidate's human rights record can be evaluated. The standards and credibility of the Council will be defined by those of its members.

In meeting more regularly than its predecessor, the Council enables the possibility of greater speed of reaction with regard to grave crises, as well as a more continuous monitoring of human rights throughout the world. Violations committed at any time, in any place, should now face greater scrutiny, with the Council also having the possibility of convening emergency sessions to address particular crises in a timely manner. Advances in technology and communications permit unprecedented amounts of up to date information to be available, making a more continual monitoring capacity for the central UN human rights body both logical and necessary.

Furthermore, the Council also comprises a system of universal review, under which all States will have their rights records examined. Recommendations stemming from this process must be followed. The success of the Council depends on the good will of its members to uphold the values and honour the commitments made at its inception. Member States must show real commitment to human rights and ensure full cooperation with the Council and its mechanisms. They must also pledge to address human rights situations elsewhere with objectivity. The implementation of recommendations and resolutions is an area in which great progress is needed - this should be a fundamental yard-stick with which States' cooperation and good faith with regard to the Council should be measured.

The onus also lies upon civil society to ensure its effective participation in the new workings of the UN's human rights mechanisms. The members of civil society have a continuing crucial role to play, notably given that the Council will continue with the practice of adopting country-specific resolutions. Non-governmental organisations must ensure that their participation in the proceedings and provision of information to the Council evolves to accommodate the newly available prospects. Such involvement is vital, both in terms of the existing special rapporteurs and other special procedures, which will be carried over to the Council, as well as in terms of involvement in the Council's sessions. The Council is set to meet at least three times per year for a total of ten weeks, plus any additional emergency meetings. Civil society is presented with an opportunity to revitalise its activities in favour of human rights within the United Nations system.

The AHRC reiterates its support for the new Human Rights Council and urges all participants to ensure a successful new beginning, based on the shared and lofty ideals enshrined in human rights laws and standards, and to pursue the fundamental goal of the protection of all individuals' human rights with renewed good faith.




◄◄home I next►►