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EU offers up to P26M grant to boost drive vs rights abuses

/ 06:02 PM October 12, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The European Union (EU) is offering up to P26 million in grants to Philippine civil society groups engaged in projects that would help boost the fight against human rights violations in the country.

In a statement Friday, the EU’s Delegation to the Philippines announced that civil society groups could avail grants worth €200,000 to €500,000 (P10 million to P26 million) for a duration of 24 to 36 months for projects involving human rights in the Philippines.

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The grant is made available through the Call for Proposal of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) – Country-Based Support Scheme. Established in 2006, the EIDHR is described by the EU as one of its flagship programs to “provide support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries.”

“One of its aims is to strengthen the role of civil society in promoting human rights and democratic reform, and in supporting the peaceful conciliation of group interests and in consolidating political participation and representation,” the EU described the program in a statement.

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“The Call for Proposal reaffirms the commitment of the European Union in promoting human rights as an essential element underlying all its external relations including political dialogues and development cooperation,” Guy Ledoux, EU ambassador to the Philippines, said in a statement.

The EU, in its statement, noted that the groups should submit proposals on actions geared towards supporting human rights defenders, protecting and promoting the rights of children, and promoting gender equality.

“Particular emphasis is placed on integration of rights-based approaches and broad-based participation including mainstreaming of gender equality, children’s rights and rights of persons with disabilities in all proposed actions,” the EU said.

In detailing examples of the proposals to be submitted, the EU noted the importance of initiatives to highlight human rights awareness to raise concrete policy changes for rights holders that are “poor, socially-excluded, and vulnerable;” legal and psycho-social assistance for local human rights defenders; researches on media initiatives for better public accountability; and initiatives to support human rights documentation, monitoring, and campaigns.

“Particular emphasis is placed on integration of rights-based approaches and broad-based participation including mainstreaming of gender equality, children’s rights and rights of persons with disabilities in all proposed actions,” it said. It added that the grant was part of the more than P2 billion in assistance the EU grants annually to the Philippines.

It added that the deadline for proposals was on November 29  and that application procedures could be accessed at the site http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/philippines/index_en.htm.

The grant comes at a time when the Philippines has been criticized for its failure to address human rights issues, particularly in prosecuting cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture.

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Under the present administration, human rights groups have reported that there were more than 100 extra-judicial killings and numerous forced disappearances, torture cases and illegal arrests and detention documented.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, however, in a meeting with United States-based human rights groups at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. last month, noted that while there was great room for improvement in terms of the country’s record on the issue of convictions in cases of extra-judicial killings, the government of President Benigno Aquino III was taking steps to solve extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses.

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TAGS: EU, European Union, Grant, Human Rights
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