Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

Salle XX, Palais des Nations

04 March 2020

Agenda Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights


Speaking Time: 1 min. 30 sec.

Thank you, Madam President.

The Philippines welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur. The State, as the duty bearer, has the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of cultural rights. As such, State actors are as much advocates and defenders of cultural rights.

Toward ensuring greater protection of heritage, the Philippines enacted last year the National Museum of the Philippines Act and the National Performing Arts Companies Act. Measures have also been taken to further mainstream culture-sensitive governance including through the inclusion of criteria on culture as a good governance performance indicator for local governments.

With over 100 indigenous cultural communities, the Philippines has been steadfast in promoting self-governance of ancestral domains, duly respectful and sensitive to customary laws and indigenous cultural rights. These IP communities have reported numerous cases of killings of their leaders and systematic destruction of their culture and way of life by the CPP-NPA-NDF, an armed non-state actor, which continue to illegally operate and use ancestral domains as base for guerrilla operations. Regrettably, this is made possible by presenting themselves as so-called rights defenders to be able to access foreign funding for purported charitable causes while using these to carry out violent armed acts.

            Madam Special Rapporteur, could you cite good practices in safeguarding the cultural rights defenders space from abuse and exploitation by armed non-state actors who masquerade as defenders of human rights while terrorizing indigenous cultural communities?

            Thank you, Madam President. END.