Civil Society Organization (CSO) – People’s Monitoring Mechanism (CSO-PMM) in the Philippines

Addressing Human Rights Violations

Wednesday 22 February 2012 by Philippine NGO-PO network for ESC rights

Launched in December 2011, the CSO-Peoples Monitoring Mechanism is a partnership of human rights and other non-governmental organizations, people’s organizations, and human rights defenders (HRDs) towards a more systematic and comprehensive monitoring and documentation of human rights violations in the Philippines.

CSO-PMM is a watchdog and response mechanism that will harness every partner’s expertise, experience, and existing programs to gather timely information and immediately take steps to intervene in situations where basic human rights are being violated.

In the past especially during the Marcos dictatorship, human rights organizations in the country have been closely monitoring civil and political rights abuses such as torture, enforced disappearance, illegal arrest and detentions and extra-judicial killing.

However, with the onset of globalization, trade liberalization policies and the so-called ‘development aggression’ affecting economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights in the early 90’s, it has become equally important for human rights organizations to also focus on transgressions against rights to housing, work, food, and other socio-economic entitlements.

Thus, human rights organizations that initially discussed to form the CSO-PMM decided to include ESC rights violations in its monitoring and documentation agenda.

In particular, CSO-PMM has the following objectives: (a.) monitor and document incidents of human rights violations; (b.) provide statistics, analysis, and reports on the human rights situation in the country; (c.) facilitate immediate and programmatic response to reported violations; and (d.) coordinate campaigns and lobby activities towards preventing violations and breaking of impunity.

How will it work?

Partner NGOs and people’s organizations from different sectors such as children, women, persons with disabilities (PWD), lesbians, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT), farmers, workers, fisher folk, teachers, youth, and students will be encouraged to function as human rights defenders (HRDs). They are the ones who will be mobilized to monitor and document human rights-related incidents, series of events, and issues within their respective areas of work.

The HRDs will be oriented and if necessary, trained on the basic human rights framework, monitoring and documentation skills and on the standard monitoring tools such as glossary of human rights terms and documentation forms that will be used by the CSO-PMM.

On the other hand, the CSO-PMM secretariat, currently composed of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) will be in-charge of the following:

a.) Receive reports from HRDs in the field through the internet, telephone and mobile phone; b.) Form a quick response team (QRT) that will verify, investigate, and take immediate steps in relation to a reported incident; c.) Store and process reports and fact sheets on reported cases; d.) Provide statistics, analysis and reports on human rights to assist in campaigns and lobby activities; e.) Coordinate interventions to stop violations and assist victims such as organizing fact-finding missions, providing relief and rehabilitation, communications with relevant government agencies, and filing cases in court.

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