In an interview on “The Chiefs” Tuesday night on One News-Cignal TV, Jessen emphasized that raising human rights issue before international institutions like the EU and the United Nations is not intended to besmirch the image of the Philippines and its leaders.
Russell Palma
HR talks not an attack on Philippines — EU envoy
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2019 - 12:00am

 MANILA, Philippines —  It is saddening that discussions on human rights situation in the Philippines are being seen as attacks on the country, European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen said.

In an interview on “The Chiefs” Tuesday night on One News-Cignal TV, Jessen emphasized that raising human rights issue before international institutions like the EU and the United Nations is not intended to besmirch the image of the Philippines and its leaders.

“That has not been that easy and I think we have to be much better on the EU side to explain how this actually works also for the Philippines,” Jessen said.

“I’m sorry to see that human rights has been seen as anti-Philippines which is not the intention. To talk about human rights should not be seen as something that is attacking the Philippines. That has never been the intention,” he said.

He explained that human rights issues being discussed before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a “perfect scenario” that should not surprise anybody.

“For me the discussion in Geneva in the Human Rights Council was actually the right place to have a discussion on human rights. You have specialized forum where human rights experts are sitting together and talk about human rights,” Jessen said.

“That means we don’t have to talk about it everywhere because it has been talked among the experts in Geneva,” he pointed out.

He said the Philippine government has shown a “a little bit of irritation” to EU nations that voted in favor of a resolution introduced by Iceland seeking an investigation into the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs. The same resolution has also urged the Philippine government to do more to prevent extrajudicial killings, linked to its campaign against illegal drugs.

The EU official did not specify how Philippine authorities manifested their irritation.

“We have seen with receptions and couple of other things that turned out to be a bit more complicated than usual. But I think at the end of the day, the government – they probably do see that – yes to talk about human rights in the Human Rights Council should not surprise anybody,” he added.

No one from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was available for the celebration of the French National Day last July 14.

Sources said the French embassy was informed by the DFA that no one from the department would be available for the Bastille Day celebration.

Manila’s not sending representative to the event was seen as a show of disapproval of France’s co-sponsoring the Iceland resolution. The resolution got 18 votes in favor and 14 against. There were 15 abstentions.

The resolution also calls on the Philippine government to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by facilitating country visits and “refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation” against rights experts.

Politicians in Europe had also issued statements expressing serious concern over the human rights situation in the Philippines.

While the statements could be perceived as insulting, Jessen stressed it is “important also here in the Philippines that the government does not react to every little statement that comes out from individual politician.”

President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs sparked concerns – and even uproar – from several quarters shortly after it took off. In response, Duterte unleashed expletives on critics including former US president Barack Obama.

FRANZ JESSEN HUMAN RIGHTS
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