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15 November 2023, Manila

On The Statement by UN Special Rapporteur Ian Fry

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) takes strong exception to the call made by Dr. Ian Fry, visiting UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the context of climate change, to “disband” the NTF ELCAC based on allegations of violations against environmental human rights defenders..

Fry, in his capacity as a UNSR on a country visit, has been given the freedom to move and inquire on matters related to his mandate. But apparently, due to reasons beyond us, he has not exercised this to its full potential. In the interest of fairness and justice, he should have raised his concerns with us to ensure that he has full appreciation of the body’s mandate, operations, and over-all directions. Sadly, even if he had issues on the NTF ELCAC that are relevant to his report, he did not find time to do so.

We wish to assure him that the NTF-ELCAC is a working and effective human rights mechanism founded on the principles of good and inclusive governance and we could have helped him define it in his study. Specifically, we would have been able to provide valuable inputs on how the NTF-ELCAC has brought peace and development in far-flung communities, many of which are indigenous cultural communities greatly affected by the impact of climate change, apart from being victims of violent extremists and terrorists.

Relatedly, we could have assisted him in engaging with our stakeholders who are peace and human rights stakeholders and defenders. We could have informed him of the NTF-ELCAC’s flagship programs, advocacies, and thrusts to achieve genuine peace, unity and development, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas that once served as hotbeds of communist terrorism.

Therefore, in the absence of this clarificatory engagement with the NTF-ELCAC, Fry’s report must be deemed incomplete. Clarity in context is required to enrich his report and render the same relevant.

Reiterating that Fry has had a very limited time in his visit, we extend an open invitation to him for a dialogue in the near future before he finalizes his report. We would consider his acceptance of this offer as an indication to truly preserve the integrity of his mandate to engage States on matters of human rights in an inclusive, impartial, and non-discriminatory manner.###

Sec. Eduardo M. Año

National Security Adviser

Vice Chairman, NTF ELCAC


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