CHR asks PH gov’t to cooperate with UNHRC probe

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

On Thursday (July 11), the United Nations rights council adopted an Iceland-led resolution which seeks a comprehensive written report on the Philippines' human rights situation due to allegations of violations, particularly in the conduct of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

The UN's 47-member Human Rights Council supported a resolution led by Iceland that turned a spotlight on wide-ranging abuses, including killings; enforced disappearances; arbitrary arrests; and persecution of rights activists, journalists, lawyers and members of the political opposition.

"This is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, but it is also a message that we collectively send out to those who have praised President Duterte", said Ellecer Carlos from the Manila-based rights group iDefend.

Locsin Jr., said the UN Human Rights Council's decision Thursday "flies in the face of everything the Philippines has worked for when it founded the Human Rights Council".

"This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them", he added. The resolution urges the Manila government to prevent extrajudicial executions and cooperate with United Nations offices and mechanisms, facilitating visits to the country and "refraining from any act of intimidation or retaliation".

Iceland joined the Human Rights Council a year ago after the Trump administration said the United States would leave the body, which resulted in an open seat. "The Human Rights Council solution sends a clear message that the global community will not look the other way as extrajudicial executions and other serious violations continue to be committed with impunity".

Bachelet's spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, said the report would offer an opportunity to "get clarity around the contested facts, figures and circumstances" of the drug war.

Non-government groups have claimed a much higher death toll, including many suspects killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen who human rights groups suspect were financed by police officers.

Duterte spokesman and legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the Philippines condemned the resolution.

"We don't probably need anybody or even especially global human rights committee para mag-conduct pa (to conduct it)".

"The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan", Panelo said in a lengthy statement.

"But we will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith", he said.

Myca Ulpina, a three-year-old girl killed on June 29 near Manila, was among the latest and youngest known victims. "There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences".

"This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration's murderous 'war on drugs, '" said Nicholas Bequelin of Amnesty International.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of housewives and mothers who participated in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the provincial government and Duterte's war on drugs at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines December 22, 2016.

Laila Matar of Human Rights Watch criticised his comments.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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