The 11 independent experts urged the UN Human Rights Council to launch a probe into the alleged human rights violations in the country. The council, comprising of 47 member states, is set to open a three-week session on June 24.
UN/Elma Okic/File
UN experts seek probe into ‘deteriorating’ human rights situation in Philippines
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 7, 2019 - 5:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — United Nations human rights experts called for an independent investigation into what they called a sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights in the Philippines.

The 11 independent experts urged the UN Human Rights Council to launch a probe into the alleged human rights violations in the country. The council, comprising of 47 member states, is set to open a three-week session on June 24.

“We have recorded a staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings in the context of the so-called war on drugs as well as killings of human rights defenders,” the experts said in a joint statement, noting “very few” independent and effective probes have taken place.

Police said the anti-drug campaign instituted when President Rodrigo Duterte took office has killed about 5,300 alleged drug personalities who fought back. But human rights watchdogs have higher estimates—more than 27,000 since June 2016.

“We are extremely concerned over the high number of killings which are being carried out across the country in an apparent climate of officials, institutional impunity,” the UN experts said.

They added: “The government has shown no indication that they will step up to fulfil their obligation to conduct prompt and full investigation into these cases and to hold perpetrators accountable in order to do justice for victims and to prevent reoccurrence of violations.”

Attacks vs human rights defenders

The 11 independent experts also said it is time for the UN Human Rights Council to take action on the alleged attacks on human rights defenders and independent watchdog institutions.

“Instead of sending a strong message that these killings and harassment are unacceptable, there is a rising rhetoric against independent voices in the country and ongoing intimidation and attacks against voices who are critical of the government, including independent media, human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists,” they said.

They noted Duterte has publicly intimidated human rights defenders, UN special rapporteurs and even Supreme Court judges.

The experts also stressed the decision of the Philippines to withdraw from the International Criminal Court is the “last of many actions demonstration that the government is seeking to evade scrutiny and reject accountability.”

The Philippines officially became the second country to leave the Hague-based tribunal last March 17.

The experts include Agnes Callamard (extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions), Meskerem Geset Techane (chair of the working group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice), Hilal Elver (right to food), Michel Forst (situation of human rights defenders), David Kaye (promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression) and Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé (rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association).

José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (working group on arbitrary detention), Dainius P?ras (right to health), Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (rights of indigenous people), Dubravka Šimonovi? (violence against women, its causes and consequences) and Diego García-Sayán (independence of judges and lawyers) are also among the UN experts.  

HUMAN RIGHTS UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with