News Commentary

Where nations stand on EJKs, death penalty in Philippines

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Where nations stand on EJKs, death penalty in Philippines

Here's a look at recommendations of some United Nations member-states regarding major human rights issues in the Philippines during the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review. Jonathan Asuncion/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines was among the countries that presented its human rights situation before the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland during the third cycle of its Universal Periodic Review.

After the state report, 95 delegations voiced out their recommendations for the Philippines through an interactive dialogue.

The Philippines has yet to examine the 257 recommendations formulated during the interactive dialogue.

Here's a look at where different countries and organizations stand on major issues including alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, the proposed reintroduction of the death penalty and the proposed lowering of criminal responsibility in the country.


Canberra urged the Philippine government to provide resourcing to the Commission on Human Rights and allow it to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings and ensure accountability. Australia is also against the reintroduction of the death penalty, reminding the Philippines of its obligations as a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


The Canadian delegation strongly urged the Philippines to refrain from reintroducing the death penalty and to end extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture and harassment.


Beijing urged Manila to address the root cause of illegal drugs and strengthen international cooperation to combat its proliferation, as well as human trafficking. China also suggested to complete and implement the National Human Rights Action Plan.


Paris asked Manila to take measures to put an end to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and allow the request for a visit of the UN special rapporteur to look into such reports. The French delegation also expressed its opposition against the reintroduction of the death penalty and the proposed lowering of the age of criminal responsibility.


Berlin asked for the protection of the right to life and a fair trial in the context of the anti-narcotics campaign. Germany also asked the Philippines to refrain from introducing the death penalty and to take measures to fully guarantee the rights of children with reference to treatment to juveniles in the judicial system.


Tokyo urged Manila to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to promote legislation conforming to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Japan added it expects Philippine accountability in its anti-drug campaign.


Although the Russian delegation did not mention alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, Moscow suggested improving the country's potential in the human rights field by completing the process of elaboration of the Philippines Human Rights Action Plan and by strengthening national human rights institutions.

United Kingdom

London called for a thorough and independent investigation into violent deaths and commitment to bring to justice those involved in abuses, including police defenders.

United States

Washington urged investigative and prosecutorial bodies to ensure thorough investigations into all killings, as well as appropriate prosecutions of perpetrators. The US also called for a strengthened criminal justice reform that would ensure a speedy and fair trial for all accused.

Holy See

The Vatican implied its opposition against the reimposition of the death penalty by asking the Philipines to maintain the protection of the right to life from conception to natural death. It added that the perpetration of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances is also deeply troubling.


The nine Southeast Asian countries went soft on the Philippines in their recommendations by skipping the mention of extrajudicial killings of drug offenders. Myanmar and Thailand, however, urged the Philippines to protect its people from the threat of drugs while upholding human rights and provide appropriate health measures. The other Association of Southeast Asian Nations mentioned their concerns regarding gender equality, poverty alleviation, human trafficking, job protection, education, climate change and human rights.

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