EU resolution 'welcome step' toward accountability, reckoning â Karapatan
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses her first state of the union speech during a plenary session at the European Union Parliament in Brussels on September 16, 2020.
AFP/John Thys
EU resolution 'welcome step' toward accountability, reckoning — Karapatan
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 18, 2020 - 2:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — A human rights group welcomed the resolution of the European Parliament denouncing the “rapidly deteriorating” of human rights situation in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte as it called on the international community to continue to stand with Filipinos.

Karapatan called the resolution a “welcome step toward reckoning and accountability over the Duterte administration’s blatant disregard of its obligation to uphold human rights and civil liberties in the country.”

The European Parliament adopted a resolution Thursday condemning the situation in the Philippines with 626 votes in favor, seven against and 52 abstentions.

“Domestic mechanisms have been ineffective and outright failing in bringing the perpetrators of these gruesome crimes to justice,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said Thursday.

“These attacks cannot continue and the European Parliament’s resolution is a strong statement from the international community that there would be consequences for these abuses,” Palabay added.

The European lawmakers urged the Philippine government to adopt and implement all the recommendations outlined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which include conducting investigations into serious human rights violations.

They also called the Duterte administration to end the killings of suspected drug personalities, drop “politically motivated charges” against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and renew the legislative franchise of media giant ABS-CBN.

Tariff perks

The European Parliament also called for the revocation of the country’s exports tariff perks under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

“Given the seriousness of the human rights violations in the country, [the parliament] calls on the European Commission, in the absence of any substantial improvement and willingness to cooperate on the part of the Philippine authorities, to immediately initiate the procedure which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of GSP+ preferences,” it said.

“Kung gusto nila ‘yan wala tayong magagwa. Hayaan nating panoorin nilang lalong maghirap ang sambayanang Pilipino,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing Friday.

(If they want to do it, we can’t do anything. Let them see the suffering it will cause Filipinos.)

He also said that the call of the European Parliament was a “classic case of misinformation.”

The European Parliament issued similar calls since Duterte assumed office in 2016. It condemned extrajudicial killings in a resolution in 2016, it adopted calls to free detained Senator Leila De Lima in 2017 and called for an end to drug-related killings in 2018.

Duterte’s men often dismiss these as meddling against Philippine affairs.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HUMAN RIGHTS
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