Amnesty says P-Noy needs to commit to achieving MDGs in the next 5 years
Earlier this week, Amnesty International expressed its concern regarding the plan of action agreed upon by governments on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) failing to uphold the rights of the world’s poorest and marginalized sectors.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that millions are being left out of the MDGs because discrimination and other human rights violations prevent them from accessing basic services, world leaders failed to seize the opportunity to put human rights at the heart of the MDGs, during the UN summit in New York this week,” explained Dr. Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.
Amnesty International said that it is unacceptable with only five years to go that world leaders have still not agreed to take concrete action to address discrimination and other human rights violations, which prevent the MDGs from benefiting those who need them most.
“Although the plan of action includes recognition of the respect for, promotion and protection of human rights as an integral part of effective work towards achieving’ the MDGs, there is no follow through in terms of commitment to take any tangible action. President Benigno Aquino III will address the summit tomorrow with what its administration commits to impllement in order to achieve the MDGs in the Philippines in the next fivee years. We want not only rhetorics from his government but true action-oriented commitment,” the director said.
Amnesty International said earlier in a statement that the importance of accountability must be emphasized because the summit has already failed to identify an effective way to hold governments to account for achieving their MDG commitments or for ensuring that their MDG efforts are consistent with their human rights obligations.
“Many people rely on their government representatives that are now in New York in the hope that this summit will make a huge difference in terms of achieving the MDGs. Each government is asking for an incredible demand from their people of trusting them that they shall indeed achieve the goals. But what we still see now is a big gap between what were the governments required to do and what they have delivered so far, which is not so much,” added Parong.
The MDG target on slums has ignored more than a billion people for the past ten years, as it only commits to improving the lives of 10 per cent of slum dwellers. Yet the action plan does not address this serious and growing challenge. Despite evidence that mass forced evictions are driving people further into poverty and thereby undermining all MDGs, there is no call on governments to end this practice. The plan talks instead of ‘reducing slum populations’, despite concerns that this could encourage more forced evictions.
The Summit did not address the root causes for lack of progress on achieving the MDGs. For example, the issue of unsafe abortion was ignored, despite it being a leading cause of maternal deaths and therefore a serious threat to reaching the MDG target on maternal mortality.
Although the plan of action includes a welcome emphasis on combating gender discrimination, it does not identify what governments should do to address discrimination and barriers faced by many other groups – including minorities, people with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples.
“P-Noy and his administration are bound by international human rights law to uphold everyone’s rights to food, health, housing and water in the Philippines. Amnesty International believes that if the MDGs are to bring real change in the Philippines, P-Noy must make his national policies and practices in line with his government’s obligation to respect and promote human rights, from top officials to local units,” said Parong.
Amnesty International maintains that the way forward now lies with individual governments setting national targets to realize economic, social and cultural rights. Governments should also act to end discrimination and ensure people living in poverty can participate in MDG efforts and hold governments to account through courts and regulatory bodies.
“The MDG Summit has failed to specify clear and binding accountability mechanisms but Amnesty International hopes that world leaders can still take action – and ensure that the MDGs do not fail the world’s poorest people,” concluded Parong
Maria Edilyd P. Orias
Media, Communication and Publications
Amnesty International Philippines
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works." -- Eleonor Roosevelt