Monday, August 27, 2007

On Human Rights and Democracy: May the UN Walk the Talk

The Full Statement and Updated Signatories as of 27 August 2007:
Government Agencies protest UNDP / "Something Ignoble within the UN"
Dear friends in the Civil Society Community:

We are sending you this petition and the attached documents (on the issue of Nileema Noble) for your consideration and support.
After reading them, we hope that you will agree that no international official, no matter if resource-bearing nor how well-intentioned and even progressive, has the right to treat Filipinos shabbily in their own country. If you believe this, please affix your name to the petition and pass it on. (mula sa;
Thank you.

Note: If you want to add your name to the petition, please email your name and particulars to with cc: and ) to help us update the list.

On Human Rights and Democracy: May the UN Walk the Talk (Arbitrariness. Unilateralism. Abuse. Harassment)

These are words we do not normally attribute to the United Nations. Oftentimes we have seen the UN proactively responding to cases involving these. We are alarmed that now, a UN official is associated with the very things that are anathema to UN values.

Ms. Nileema Noble has been the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Philippines for more than a year. We are aware that numerous staff under her, whether temporary or fixed term, have complained and filed cases detailing verbal and physical abuse and arbitrary termination of employment contracts. We are appalled that numerous incidents involving Ms. Noble establish a pattern of systematic abuse of authority and downright harassment.

The UN has set historic precedents in human rights observance over the past decades. Ironically now, the human rights and dignity of UN staff in the Philippines are being trampled. We cannot stand idly by.

We are further alarmed that Ms. Noble's arbitrariness extends to external partnerships. She unilaterally invalidates existing contractual arrangements between the UNDP and government/ academic institutions. Many affected agencies, through sundry statements and letters, have expressed deep concern and disappointment over these actions, citing the lack of
consultation, mutual respect and professionalism.

All this, we have learned, is done in the name of "effecting change." Who does not want change? What we cannot be silent about, however, is the use of this supposed "change agenda" as a pretext and a license for excessive behavior with impunity. We are for change in favor of more
democracy, more consultation, and more professionalism. We cannot support a change process towards unilateralism, tyranny, and utter disregard for basic rights.

We, from the civil society community in the Philippines, have a stake on how the UN conducts its programmes and operations in the country. We are ready to support and cooperate with the UN, but we remind the UN to heed the words of Cardoso:

"The world stands today at a very delicate juncture. The United Nations needs the support of civil society more than ever. But will not get that support unless it is seen as championing reforms in global governance that civil society is calling for..."
(Fernando Cardoso, Chair of
the Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations. Transmittal letter to the Secretary General , 7 June 2004 .)

It is in this spirit that we call upon the UN to deal decisively with the living paradox within its ranks as embodied by its highest official in the country, Ms. Nileema Noble. It is imperative that the UN correct this intolerable situation. We expect far higher standards of ethical conduct and professionalism from its representatives. Otherwise, they must go.

Please add your name/organization (optional) to express your support for this cause.

Initial List Name / Organization (optional)
1. Anna Maria "Princess" Nemenzo

2. Rosselynn "Jae" dela Cruz, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS)

3. Luzviminda "Vim" Santos, People's Global Exchange (PGX)
4. Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, Executive Director, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
5. Maria "Mars" Mendoza, Executive Director, Children's Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD) Inc.

6. Antonio "Tony" Villasor

7. Earl Parreno, Altertrade

8. Susan Granada, Non-Violent Peace Force
9. Gil Navarro, Chair, Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice
10. Niva Gonzales 11. Arnold Tarrobago, Akbayan Citizens' Action Party
12. Jean Enriquez, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking of Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)

13. Cora Valdez Fabros

14. Alice Raymundo

15. Behn Cervantes

16. Mercedes "Mercy" L. Fabros

17. Claudette "Dette-Dette" Arboleda

18. Soliman "Sol" Santos, South-SouthNetwork (SSN) and Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines
19. Edicio "Ed" dela Torre, Education for Life Foundation (ELF)

20. Marianita "Girlie" Villariba, Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
21. Ronald Llamas, President, Akbayan Citizens' Action Party

22. Jude Esguerra
23. Susan "Toots" Ople, Blas F. Ople Policy Center
24. Cecilia "Thea" Soriano, Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net)

25. Edwin Chavez, Center for People's Empowerment

26. Josel Gonzales, Active Citizens Foundation
27. David Andrade
28. Danny Carranza, Peace Foundation, Inc.

29. Vengie "Banjo" Vina, Bisig

30. Tomas Villarin, Executive Director, SIAD Initiatives in Mindanao-Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development (SIMCARRD)

31. Rhodora A. Abano, Center for Migrant Advocacy

32. Joe Valencia, KASAPI, Organization of Filipino migrants in Greece
33. Debbie Carlos Valencia, DIWATA Phil. Women's Network in Greece

34. Francisco Cinco, Institute for Popular Democracy
35. Peter Lavina, Councilor, Davao City

36. Annelle P. Rivera-Beckstrom, Sociology Department, New School for Social Research, NY

37. Roberto Nicolasora

38. Arianne Reyes

39. Etta Pargas-Rosales, Chair Emeritus, Akbayan & Co-Chair, Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court

40. Wigberto "Bobby" Tanada
41. Flor Caagusan

42. Rodolfo Villanueva, Center for Participatory Governance

43. Ronnie Tapnio
44. Maria Luisa Jose-Tapnio

45. Jeselle Papa

46. Frances Therese C. Lo
47. Jose Eliseo "Joel" Rocamora, Institute for Popular Democracy

48. Ibarra "Barry" M. Gutierrez 49. Sister Arnold Maria Noel,SSpS
50. Arnel Ramos, ODA Watch
51. Dong Calmada, Peace Foundation, Inc.

52. Byron D. Bocar, Akbayan! Citizens' Action Party
53. Rosemary Cheung-Bocar
54. Joel Saracho, Tbak Inc

55. Floyd Buenavente, MBS TEK
56. Aida Santos

57. Reden B. Recio

58. Nelson B. Sanchez

59. Klaid Sabangan

60. Rodel P. Abenoja Student Council Alliance of the Philippines Vice-Chairperson for Mindanao

61. Daisy Valero, General Manager, Kalatas

62. Jerome Bailen, forensic anthropologist
63. Richard Taduran
64. Delfin "Ted Borrero"

65. Auxilium "Inday" Toling-Olayer, Human Rights Advocate, Board of Trustees of various HR organizations in the Philippines

66. Cecilia Jimenez, Human Rights Lawyer. Geneva, Switzerland
67. Joseph Francia
68. Jose "Joey" Flora

69. Amado "Bong" Mendoza, Jr., Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines

70. Rebecca "Beckie" Malay
71. Mylene Saluta, Panbansdang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK)

72. Carlos Ocampo, Christian World Service, Sydney, Australia


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