CHR Chief Warns of Corruption's Effects on Human Rights

Manila Bulletin, January 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

CHR Chief Warns of Corruption's Effects on Human Rights


Human Rights chairperson Leila De Lima expressed concern yesterday over the effects of corruption activities in the country as they entail grave human rights violations, particularly on an individual's economic, social, and cultural rights.

Speaking before representatives of the international community, Philippine government agencies, and the judiciary, De Lima said corruption in the country has been breeding "grave" human rights violations, particularly among Filipinos in the vulnerable sector.

She issued the statement during the two-day First Integrity and Human Rights Conference in Manila, convened by the Commission on Human Rights, Business for Integrity and Stability of our Nation, United Nations Development Program, and Transparency International-Philippines.

"For many years, the problem of corruption had always been viewed as a bane to economic freedom, an impediment to free market capitalism and a black mark on the investment environment of the country. It had been viewed almost solely as hindrance to economic growth and progress, the perennial aspiration of all developing nations such as ourselves. Corruption infects more than just the government. It infects nearly all aspects of our lives," De Lima said.

She said corruption activities lead to inadequate services for the vulnerable sector, such as the poor, indigenous peoples, and disabled individuals.

"The poor are less educated, have less access to health and economic opportunity, and therefore, are less able to uplift themselves from their own poverty. Their right to adequate services, their right to justice and development continues to be denied not just by a government that is seen to be corrupt, but a culture that fosters corruption. At its very core, corruption is not just an inconvenient requisite to bureaucratic transactions. It is a very serious violation of human rights," De Lima said.

"We are here to impart to the public the proposition that there is a very close relationship between human rights violations and corruption. Resources become meager because of corruption," she told reporters.

Considering the "close" relationship between human rights and corruption, De Lima said "majority of cases of human rights violations in the country is rooted from corruption."

Although she did not mention the specific number of cases, she said "majority, if not all, cases of economic, social, and cultural rights monitored by the CHR, are caused by corruption," citing cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances as included in the violations.

She pointed out that the best authority to come with statistics "on how grievous corruption is" is the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Sandiganbayan.

"Up until now, the human rights community does not know that corruption impinges on a person's human rights," De Lima said.

She said the conference also called on "duty-bearers" in the government and business sector to make a human rights-based approach in combating corruption.

"The claim holders are the public...they need to be serviced effectively and efficiently. People have to be empowered on how to act in the face of worsening corruption," De Lima said.

"Corruption breeds grave human rights violations because it directly affects the rights to food, shelter, education," she added.

UNDP official sees corruption rise due to recession, elections

By CHARISSA M. LUCI

The gripping global financial meltdown and the 2010 presidential elections may "likely" fire up corruption in the Philippines, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Renaud Meyer said yesterday.

Meyer called on anticorruption and human rights stakeholders, including private sector and civil society groups, to intensify their efforts to stamp out corruption and safeguard human rights, saying that the economic and political situation in the next two years could worsen corruption. …

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CHR Chief Warns of Corruption's Effects on Human Rights
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