Note by the Secretariat
The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, on his mission to the Philippines from 21 to 31 July 2015.
Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as “Yolanda”) made landfall in November 2013, killing thousands and displacing more than 4 million people from their homes. The Government must be commended for its reconstruction efforts to date and its initial responses to the massive internal displacement challenges. Given the extent of the devastation, significant progress has been made in providing transitional and permanent homes and restoring infrastructure. Progressive policies seek to mitigate the impact of future events, recognizing that the Philippines is on the front line of climate change-related extreme weather events.
Full recovery will take time following a disaster of such magnitude. However, two years on, attention and resources allocated to internally displaced persons, their housing and livelihoods, appear to be waning before durable solutions have been achieved for them. Many thousands lack adequate housing and the provision of basic services, including water, sanitation and electricity. Some have fallen entirely through the protection net and require urgent assistance. Following a decade of deliberation, the law on the rights of internally displaced persons should finally be adopted to provide essential legal protection to them.
In Mindanao, over the last four decades, multiple displacements due to conflict and disaster have become the common pattern in some localities. Intensified efforts are required to achieve lasting peace and to provide durable solutions to the many internally displaced persons who face relative neglect. Armed conflict and extractive and logging activities on indigenous ancestral territories have a devastating impact on indigenous peoples (Lumads), displacing them and subjecting them to gross violation of their rights and to conditions that threaten their unique communities, cultures and lifestyles.
In accordance with his mandate under Human Rights Council resolution 23/8 and at the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, conducted an official visit to the Philippines from 21 to 31 July 2015.
The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its cooperation with his mandate. He consulted numerous national and local government officials and thanks them for their time and information. He looks forward to maintaining a constructive engagement with the Government ahead.
He met many internally displaced persons and others, including indigenous peoples, at risk of displacement in different regions. He thanks the Office of the Resident Coordinator, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), among other United Nations agencies, for facilitating his visit and meetings. He is grateful to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and many civil society organizations that provided information and assistance. The present report reflects on numerous causes and situations of internal displacement and provides an independent and impartial assessment.