Bangsamoro lawmakers file bill protecting human rights defenders
January 26, 2022

COTABATO CITY — A bill that promotes and protects the rights of Human Rights defenders in the region was filed today, January 26, by Bangsamoro lawmakers.

Parliament Bill No. 165, also known as the Bangsamoro Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2021, is principally authored by Member of the Parliament Amilbahar Mawallil.

The promotion and protection of human rights, as well as those who defend them, are of greater importance, according to MP Mawallil, because countless human rights violations committed against the Moro’s forbears are among the roots of armed conflict that haunted them.

“Our collective gains through the peace process that culminated with the formation of the BARMM is an opportune time to strengthen human rights as a foundation of post-conflict transformation and peace-building,” added MP Mawallil.

The proposed measure enumerated 17 rights and freedoms of HR defenders, including the right to an effective remedy and full monetary and non-monetary reparation in case of violation.

It also highlights the obligations of the Bangsamoro Government and public authorities to guarantee and protect the rights and freedoms of HR defenders.

Aside from these, PB 165 seeks to establish a Human Rights Defender Protection Committee, composed of members of the BARMM’s Human Rights Commission and recognized HR organizations from across the region.

Among the functions of the Committee are protecting HR defenders from intimidation and reprisals; ensuring accountability; facilitating and promoting interagency and inter-department coordination; investigating on a complaint by any party all forms of violations of human rights; promoting the important role and work; consulting with HR defenders; monitoring existing and proposed legislation, and preparing and submitting reports on the situations of HR defenders.

MP Mawallil stressed the importance of providing institutional support to human rights defenders so that they can freely serve as force multipliers in promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“By instituting reforms to safeguard our human rights, we as freedom-loving peoples manifested in our struggle for self-determination can move forward and help ensure that the horrors that plagued our forebears no longer affect the succeeding generations,” he added.

HR defender refers to any person who, individually or in association with others, acts to protect or promote human rights and fundamental freedoms at the local, regional, national, and international levels. He can also be a part of an HR organization. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)