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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Secretary of Foreign Affairs


Signing of the Second Optional Protocol to the
Convention on Civil and Political Rights
20 September 2006, United Nations, New York

At the heart of a nation’s soul are its people. Civilization is built on indispensable principles, among them, respect for human life.

For my country and its people, the sanctity of the life of the individual is a paramount value. For my government, the protection of human life is a sacred commitment.

Today the Philippines renews this commitment.

With the signing of the Second Optional Protocol to the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Philippine government binds itself before the world to uphold and protect the life of the individual.

Enshrined in our Constitution is powerful language against the death penalty. Three months ago, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gave this Constitutional mandate further expression when she signed into law Republic Act 9346, which removed the death penalty from our statute books.

Such is the value that we give to life that in our Constitution, we are bound to protect the life of the unborn child.

With the signing of the Second Optional Protocol, the Philippine Government reemphasizes it unrelenting commitment to strengthen the protection of human rights.

By signing the protocol, the Philippines upholds in a clear and categorical manner, human dignity and the fundamental right to life.

But even before this signing and the passage of RA 9346, President Arroyo had always maintained a moratorium on the carrying out of the death penalty.

The abolition of the death penalty in the country and the signing of the Second Optional Protocol also comes as a fulfillment of the Philippines’ pledge as a founding member of the newly established United Nations Human Rights Council based in Geneva. The Philippines sits in the Council until 2007.

Today we turn our backs on capital punishment and take a bold and confident step forward, in the name of life.

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