CHR: Welfare of OFWs remains a priority, along with drug killings
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) made an assurance on Saturday that protecting the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remained one of its priorities, along with its monitoring of killings linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
In statement, the CHR assured the public that it had not forgotten OFWs, saying: “Even in the background, this sector remains to be one of our priorities, while working on more prominent issues, such as alleged human rights violations linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.”
The CHR stressed this point in response to the criticism made last Wednesday by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that it was “more concerned with political crimes” – particularly the drug war killings – instead of looking after the welfare of OFWs.
Bello made the remark during a House hearing, replying to ABS Rep. Eugene De Vera, who asked him if if the CHR had reached out to them in relation to case of Joanna Demafelis, a domestic who was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait.
“Actually you are correct, your honor, that the mandate of CHR includes the advocacy for the protection of the rights of our workers abroad,” Bello told De Vera. “Unfortunately, I don’t think they have time to consult with us, they are more concerned with political crimes, I think so, your honor.”
The CHR denied this in its statement on Saturday, saying: “Looking out for the plight of our Filipino migrant workers forms part of the Commission’s broad mandate of ensuring that their rights are upheld, alongside other vulnerable and marginalized sectors.”
The CHR said would come up with a comprehensive report to identify the concerns of OFWs to help guide the government in making policies affecting the sector.
The CHR then urged the government to monitor human right violations happening in and out of the country.
“Every Filipino and Filipina deserves the government’s equal protection wherever they may be – regardless if it is about alleged human rights violations linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs or those concerning the rights of migrant workers,” the CHR said. “It is, after all, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” /atm
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