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Strengthening APF members to be powerful advocates

Graphic: Group shot of CHR staff who participated in the capacity assessment

Commissioners and staff from across the Philippines NHRI have shared their ideas to bolster the organisation so it can tackle future challenges.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights LogoOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Development Programme LogoUnited Nations Development Programme
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

Commissioners, managers and staff from across all parts of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights have shared their ideas to strengthen the organisation so it can continue to address the many serious human rights issues in the country.

Almost 600 staff took part focus groups to provide their feedback as part of the capacity assessment program, which ran from 6-20 August 2018 and was facilitated by representatives from the APF, UNDP and OHCHR.

Discussions were held with staff at the Commission's central office in Manila, as well as regional offices in different parts of the country.


Graphic: Group shot of CHR staff who participated in the capacity assessment


Participants expressed pride in the Commission's resolute commitment to protect and promote the human rights of all people in the Philippines, despite a challenging environment that has seen the Commission face sustained attacks and criticism.

There was specific praise for the Commission's work to investigate torture and extrajudicial killings; to advocate against the death penalty; to promote the rights of women, migrant workers and indigenous peoples; to inquire into the human rights impact of climate change through its ground breaking national inquiry; and to engage with the community through social media.

Participants also provided a broad range of suggestions about steps the Commission could take to bolster this work and continue to build greater community engagement on human rights issues,

Discussions were also held with a number of the Commission's key stakeholders, including civil society groups and UN agencies.


As believers in the universal values of human rights and in the practice of democracy, we will draw strength to respond to the challenges on a day-to-day basis.

Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines Logo Jose Luis Martin ‘Chito’ Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

"The Commission has been a courageous voice for human rights and human dignity in the Philippines," said Rosslyn Noonan, APF NHRI Expert, who led the capacity assessment.

"This program aims to support staff, managers and the leadership team to contribute their ideas so the Commission can continue to be a powerful advocate for the rights of all Filipinos, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalised," she said.

Capacity assessment projects have been conducted with 20 APF member institutions and, in January 2018, with the National Commission for Human Rights of Pakistan.

It is a self-assessment process that uses small group discussions and surveys to collect and distil the insights and aspirations of those working within the NHRI.

The report following each capacity assessment proposes strategies to strengthen the NHRI as a whole, to develop the capacities of staff individually and collectively, and to make the internal processes of the NHRI more effective and more efficient.

Date: 23 August 2018


Image credits

  1. Group shot of CHR staff who participated in the capacity assessment - Phiiippines Commission on Human Rights
  2. Group shot of CHR staff who participated in the capacity assessment - Philippines Commission on Human Rights