The Commission on Human Rights reminded that the Philippines has been a signatory to a number of treaties on human rights and has given authority to bodies to monitor the situation and recommend measures in improving the rights condition in the country.

Robinson Niñal Jr./Presidential Photo
CHR: Allow UN probes into rights situation in the Philippines
Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com) - March 14, 2018 - 12:26pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should respect the special procedures of the United Nations and welcome probes by international human rights bodies, the Commission of Human Rights said.
 
“Rather than attacking human rights bodies and human rights defenders, we urge the government to display sincere commitment to transparency and the rule of law by allowing unhampered investigations to take place,” the CHR said in a statement Wednesday. 
 
The commission’s statement came after the slew of tirades and threats launched by government officials against the United Nations Human Rights Council, questioning the legitimacy of international human rights mechanisms in ensuring the rule of law.
 
“We caution the government against dispensing allegations without proof,” it said. 
 
CHR stressed that the Philippines has given authority to bodies to monitor the situation and recommend measures in improving the rights condition in the country because it has been a signatory to a number of treaties on human rights. 
 
“If all these basic human rights are observed, we will be treated with respect by the international community and there will be no reason for the international human rights bodies to assume jurisdiction over what should otherwise be purely domestic affairs,” it said. 
 
The commission, moreover, stressed that expressions of concern on the rights situation in the country should not be interpreted as partiality.
 
The government said it is open to inquiries as long as these would not be led by UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard. The UN expert has been repeatedly criticized and threatened by the administration, including President Rodrigo Duterte himself, for her comments on the government’s war on drugs. 
 
 
“As in the case of UN special rapporteurs, investigations are opportunities to clarify and collaborate in pursuit of better protection and promotion of human rights on the ground,” the CHR said, noting that the country must ensure the safety and security of special rapporteurs.
 
It, moreover, urged the government to drop the charges against UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who has been included in a petition seeking to declare more than 600 individuals as “terrorists.”
 
 
Duterte on Saturday said that the UN rights experts should be fed to crocodiles and reiterated his order to the security forces to snub human rights investigators.
 
His remark came after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that the president needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. 
 
Presidential mouthpiece Harry Roque Jr. called Zeid’s statement as an “affront on the sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines.”
 

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