MANILA, Philippines: In an exciting development, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, has been invited to visit the Philippines. This visit, scheduled from January 23 to February 2, 2024, provides an excellent opportunity for the Special Rapporteur to gain firsthand insights into the Philippines’ well-established and vibrant democracy.
The DFA, in a statement posted on its official website, expressed its confidence that Ms. Khan’s visit will allow her to witness the transparency and progressive agenda of the government in promoting and protecting freedom of speech and expression. With a rich and diverse media landscape and an active civic space, the Philippines stands as the oldest democratic Republic in Asia.
During her stay, Ms. Khan will engage in meaningful dialogues and meetings with various stakeholders, including government representatives, media organizations, civil society groups, and other key players. These interactions will provide her with a comprehensive understanding of the efforts undertaken by the government to ensure the freedom of speech and expression for all its citizens.
The DFA emphasized that this visit symbolizes the Philippine government’s commitment to open, sustained, and sincere cooperation with bilateral and regional partners, as well as the United Nations. The country actively promotes a human rights-based development agenda and good governance, while also contributing to the establishment and strengthening of global norms that uphold human rights and dignity.
By welcoming the UN Special Rapporteur, the Philippines aims to showcase its achievements and progress in the realm of freedom of opinion and expression. Through this visit, the government seeks to highlight its dedication to transparency, inclusivity, and the protection of human rights.
It is important to note that the Philippines, like any other nation, faces its own unique challenges in balancing freedom of speech with the responsibility to maintain social harmony and order. The government’s commitment to engaging in open dialogue with various stakeholders demonstrates its willingness to address these challenges and find effective solutions.
The visit of Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, serves as a testament to the Philippines’ commitment to upholding democratic values and ensuring the rights of its citizens. By providing a platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas, the government aims to foster a deeper understanding of its efforts in promoting and protecting freedom of speech and expression.
As the oldest democratic Republic in Asia, the Philippines takes pride in its vibrant media landscape and active civic space. Through this visit, the government hopes to showcase its achievements, while also recognizing the importance of continuous improvement in safeguarding the fundamental rights of its people.
Overall, the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur to the Philippines signifies the country’s dedication to strengthening global norms, promoting human rights-based development, and fostering good governance. It is an opportunity for both the government and the Special Rapporteur to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation, ultimately contributing to the advancement of freedom of opinion and expression worldwide.
Source: The Manila Times